The Smart Hoodie is a new form of wearable tech that is more than just the standard piece of technology that you wear. It is actually a piece of clothing that has the tech built right into the fabric. The Smart Hoodie was born essentially from a project of two students at NYU’s ITP, meshing together the fabrics of everyday clothing that we wear on our bodies, with the computing parts of a cell phone to provide a piece of clothing that can actually complete some of the functions of a smartphone. Taking the hoodie, both students Rucha Patwardhan and Alina Balean combined it with Arduino switches and a GSM capable Arduino board to turn the hoodie into a smart tool that can text and post to facebook.
While the functions of the hoodie are fairly limited compared to what we can do with our normal phones, the few things it can do are controlled by what the students describe as normal everyday gestures. Rolling up your sleeve can post to your facebook news feed, while putting on your hood and touching the cuff on the right sleeve can send text messages. Now without an actual keyboard the messages that you post and send would basically have to be preset, but once that part is done the act of those gestures is all that’s needed to relay a few simple messages. For Alina Balean, the example used was pulling up the sleeve to initiate a Facebook post, informing her friends that she was busy and in class, while putting on the hood sent a message to her mom to say that she missed her, and touching the cuff on the right sleeve sent a message to her mom to inform her that was free and available to chat.
These were all preset simple messages that would use a web connected interface to set them, but all without having to pick up the phone and actually type things out on the screen. Despite the hands free properties that a piece of clothing/technology could give to people, Alina also describes the Smart Hoodie as a way for people to be discrete with their messages. Sometimes relaying a message can be important, but it might not be polite or safe to do so in the setting that you’re in. However utilizing something like the Smart Hoodie lets you send the message without actually letting people know what you’re doing. The Smart Hoodie is not something that is readily available at this point in time, but just goes to show what the potential of mobile computing and some of the uses of a cell phone could be in the filed of wearable technology.