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Smart Clothes
Alex Steffen, 27 Aug 04

Smart clothes -- clothes and accessories into which technologies are seamlessly and stylishly enfolded -- is a big coming meme. Horizon Zero has a collection of excellent articles on the subject:

"Over the past few years, technological prostheses have gradually encroached upon the world of clothing by combining with the surfaces that protect and personalize our bodies. Communications and entertainment devices, such as cellular phones and mp3 players, have become new forms of adornment, connecting our inner world with our surroundings and profoundly altering our relationship with the world. These increasingly multifunctional and powerful accessories have contributed to a process of layering our personal boundaries with multiple strata of information and sensation while offering others the image of a hardware-equipped body. In the field of smart clothes, the trend today is towards a subtler and more complex integration of technological elements - the concept of the "second skin" - while taking our needs and desires into account. This issue of HorizonZero highlights the many achievements in the field of "ready-to-wear" technology."

While "fashionable technology" is worth keeping an eye on, the implications here extend far beyond geek couture into questions of security and privacy (and the participatory panopticon), the changing nature of urban space (and way new urbanism), the whole realm of smart-mobby politics, even, potentially, our ability to understand natural systems.

(Anne Galloway has been blogging the heck out these and other interesting topics about how we interact with space and things on Purse Lip Square Jaw.)

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