Wearable computers have been an idea thrown around for the last few years. The idea that we don’t need a screen to carry out complex tasks has intrigued concept designers to say the least. The Ping Hoodie–which lets you update social networks, know when certain individuals are calling, and receive other digital alerts–is the latest, and arguable most relevant, example of how such a concept could fit into our daily lives.
The Ping clothing concept makes use of embedded electronics and haptics controlled by the Arduino Lilypad system, which transmits to your device (most likely a smartphone) using the Lylipad Xbee. This tech serves as the core interface between you and the information you need. If someone special is sending you a call or text, you can set the hoodie to vibrate in a specific manner, letting you know it’s them. Actions as simple as lifting or dropping the hood can be used to send status updates and messages on Facebook, with the potential to target certain groups of friends.
But the most interesting part is the flexibility of the concept. Designer Jennifer Darmour says that the platform can be adapted to different types of clothing, which could potentially allow for a whole new set of gestures to be brought into the mix. Zippers, buttons, or pockets, for example, could expand the possibilities of connectedness.
For now, the Ping remains a pure prototype, but the fact that an actual piece exists in working form already means it’s further along than most concepts. Let’s hope this sees the light of day in the future.