Infineon Technologies and O'Neill Europe unveiled the result of a joint product development project on January 14 - their first 'wearable electronics' snowboard jacket with functions such as an MP3 player and mobile telephony by Bluetooth. Based on O'Neill's specifications, well-known semi-conductor company Infineon developed the chip module suitable for integration into the pioneering snowboard jacket. The jacket will be known as "THE HUB" and technologically clued-in snowboarders will be able to purchase the jacket when O'Neill's 2004/05 winter collection goes on sale later this year."With the product just launched, the groundwork preparatory to full integration of electronic functions in clothing is starting to bear fruit," said Dieter May, responsible for strategy and emerging businesses at Infineon. "With the first market-ready product to use our technology for integrating electronic functions in clothing, we are again underlining our aim to be the leading solutions provider among semiconductor companies. This basic technology opens up new markets and sales channels for us. Our aim is to expand these significantly starting from our leading position." Woven into THE HUB snowboard jacket are electrically conductive fabric tracks, which connect the chip module to a fabric keyboard and built-in speakers in the helmet. The chip module contains a full-featured MP3 player and a Bluetooth module via which the snowboarder can control a mobile phone. If the snowboarder wants to make a phone call, the stereo system acts as the headset. The microphone is integrated in the collar of the jacket. Recent studies by Venture Development Corporation predict worldwide sales worth over 1 billion euros for the "intelligent textile materials" market by 2007.Since first showing its technology Infineon has discussed firm projects with more than 200 companies from the textile industry. Most interestingly, Infineon is currently working on an initial prototype of a "smart carpet" though they have not disclosed the functionality incorporated in the carpet yet.
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