There is a major ongoing advancement in the computer and electronics industries to design wearable devices for what is being known as the Post-PC era now. At present, we are at the beginning of this prospect and few of these devices have already gained an entry to the consumer market.
In-spite of the portability and small size of these modern devices, they are still visible and are not always aesthetically satisfying. The next stage of the post-PC period will be to embed computers directly into the clothing so as to make them almost invisible.
How Does It Work?
The next step ahead in making computers and devices portable is computerized clothes without the need to fasten electronics to our body or fill up our pockets with a range of electronic devices. The computer clothing that we are talking about here may not essentially replace your personal computer, but still it can carry out few of the functions.
In the coming years, we might end up piling our wardrobes with smart clothes that can monitor our breathing and heart rate. There are probabilities of thin light emitting diodes (LEDs) also getting embedded into these clothes to display images and text. Musical jackets could be on their way with inbuilt fabric keyboards.
Computer clothing is the ultimate invention in portable high-tech gadgetry. Such costumes are likely to bring down the difficult job of carrying computing gadgets around, offering solutions in the form of wearable gadgets.
With the digital yarn development, the clothing industry is already in the process of working up its e-closet. Many top companies in the world like IBM, Nike, Philips, Levi, and SensaTex are testing their smart clothes in the market.
Levi’s has already introduced its musical jacket in the market in a joint venture with Europe’s MIT Media Lab for testing. This musical jacket is crafted using silk organza and features an all-fabric keyboard for controlling. The keyboard is designed to be touch-sensitive in addition to being flexible and durable. There is a printed circuit to pass on the sensing ability to keypad. The keypad responds to the touch as there is an increase in the capacitance of the electrode when touched.
In addition to being useful for entertainment purposes (such as the musical jacket explained above), computer clothing can also be designed for medical purposes. For instance, a smart fabric designed by the scientists at Georgia Institute of Technology aims at monitoring the breathing and heart rate. It makes use of electric and optical conducive fibers that are sewn into the shirt to keep a check on breathing and heart rate.
Software and Hardware
As for the software and hardware that is commonly used in this kind of computer clothes that have been created till now, the details are discussed here. The normally used operating system on these smart fabrics is Wear comp OS (WOS). GNU Linux and Red hat can work as an operating system too. Many software, mostly GNU freeware like GNU image modulation program (GIMP) and other planning and calendar programs can work on such wearable computers.
As seen earlier, the hardware may include a keyboard, display, hard drive, batteries, and voltage regulator. Depending upon the need, different versions of these devices are embedded in the clothing, and they’d certainly become the pick of the lot among the tech geeks over the next few years.
Computer Clothing is an attempt to make computers really a part of the daily lives by integrating them into clothes or making form factors that can be used similar to clothing. Such a level of access to the computing field will transform the way in which computers are being used today, but we’ll have to wait and watch as to what kind of complications and side effects they might bring along with them!