12 November 2004


My friend Jeremy Wagstaff of the famous Loose Wire column in the Review has posted something about "smart clothing." It is "smart" in the sense that it thinks like a true friend when you are in trouble.

Developed by Professor Francis Tay, from the mechanical engineering department at the National University of Singapore, it is equipped with an engineering wonder called Micro Electro Mechanical Systems or MEMS. The jacket itself is called a "Memswear."

Mems are machines built on such a tiny scale that they are invisible to the human eye.

Tay's prototype is fitted with a small silicon detector, similar to the silicon chips in personal computers, which senses if the wearer has a fall.

Then, using Bluetooth technology, which transmits information wirelessly, a transmitter inside the shirt sends an alert from the wearer's mobile phone or home computer to a carer via text message, email or phone call.

[CNN, Technology]

I think this is a pretty cool stuff for seniors who are always at risk of having falls which can be fatal for them sometimes. I think it is possible to program the transmitter to call the wearer's personal physician or the nearest hospital in cases of accidents.

And for cool people like you, Jeremy also mentions another Bluetooth jacket called the HUB-Jacket which features the following:

  • 1 hands-free set with microphone in the collar and voice recognition

  • 2 integrated headphone connection

  • 3 flexible keyboard embodied into the material

  • 4 incorporated docking station for an MP3 player with a Bluetooth headset

[Infineon Technologies]

I never thought a day will come when you can literally wear your "home entertainment system." The 128MB memory provides a cool 2-hours of MP3 music files which you can easily load thru a USB link from your PC. There's also an obscure fabric keyboard woven into the jacket's left-hand sleeve which contains the player's control panel, which according to HUB-Jacket's website can be "comfortably operated even when wearing gloves." More details on its website.

What's next?

How about smart clothing that reminds you of your appointments, wakes you up when you oversleep, massages your tense muscles, spoonfeeds you when you're too busy to eat, and tells you where the nearest supermarket is?

In the near future, I can see more obese people. Everything can be done thru voice-commands and wireless technology. Calories don't get burned that way.

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