PowearIN jacket wires your torso with a kitchen sink of tech

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The PowearIN Jacket packs a lot of features – perhaps too many?(Credit: PowearIN)

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Battling the likes of the Tec Jacket 2.0 for the title of "world's most high-tech jacket," the all-new PowearIN jacket gives you surplus pocket space for gadgetry, integrated gadget charging, a built-in flashlight and a wireless dial to control external devices. It can even transform into a messenger bag and carry your your electronics on your shoulder when it's too hot for a waterproof-breathable coat.

PowearIN Wearable Technology Co. brings the idea of a high-tech jacket to a logical conclusion, stuffing its overcoat with all the tech a geek could possibly want and some he probably won't. And that's why it's called a "jacket beyond your imagination."

The entire face and interior of the jacket are dressed in pockets, some purpose-built for things like a phone, keys and wallet, and others left open for whatever you might need to store on any given day. The jacket even has not one but two pockets in its upper collar, a chest-mounted hanger for sunglasses and a magnetic-close under-placket sleeve that keeps your headphone wires neatly stored.

All those power-hungry gadgets are going to need to be charged at some point, and PowearIN untethers you from the grid by integrating power inside the jacket. It holds five charging adapters in strategic locations and can charge all devices simultaneously from the dual 5,000-mAh battery packs stored in dedicated pockets. Drop a wireless charging-equipped phone into the left pocket and it'll start wirelessly charging automatically.

The cuff-integrated handheld charger lets you charge your phone while using it, and the bottom hem-integrated share charger lets you loan your power to someone else. There's also a collar-based smart glass charger and a wrist-integrated smartwatch charger.

PowearIN says the included battery packs take about three hours to fully charge, and you can also swap in your own batteries in place of the two included. The core control module sits in its own pocket and manages device charging. The connections are micro-USB, and PowearIN says it plans to include Apple Lightning adapters.

The PowearIN jacket already stores and charges your electronics, so why shouldn't it control them, too? That oversized button toward the top of the wind placket provides control of the internal power system and external devices like a music player, camera or included LED light. It has five buttons and a rotary dial, and you can use it to turn charging on and off, play music and skip tracks, and take a photo or start recording video.

Beyond supporting all your external tech with dedicated storage, power management and control, the PowearIN jacket brings its own tech. Perhaps its most dubious feature is the chest-mounted illuminated name tag that lets you show your name in 40 different colors and several effects. Maybe that will appeal to some folks, but it seems awfully cheesy and unnecessary to us – it is removable, though.

A more useful feature is the integrated, three-mode LED light, which can be affixed to the sleeve, hood brim or chest and used like a headlamp or wearable flashlight. It offers about 10 minutes of high runtime on its own and can be connected to the integrated power supply for a much longer life.

All that built-in and stored tech leads to an awful lot of weight. PowearIN has planned for that issue with a load distribution system that consists of a harness integrated between the waterproof-breathable outer fabric and breathable inner fabric. Using a series of affixable counterbalance modules, you can distribute the load so that all that electronic architecture doesn't weigh down the front of the jacket.

If the jacket still feels heavy – or if it gets too hot to wear – the PowearIN packs another trick. With a few folds and snaps, it transforms into a shoulder bag so you can throw all that tech over your shoulder and keep moving without having to grip onto a heavy, oversized jacket stuffed with electronics.

The fact that you have to add modules just to counterbalance the weight of gadgetry confirms what we were already thinking: this jacket is much too much. It has the feel of an interesting design run amuck, a brainstorming session brought to life without any accompanying trimming or refinement.

That said, you don't have to purchase the whole shebang. PowearIN offers full and light versions, the latter featuring a much lighter feature set without the integrated charging system, name tag illumination, INbutton control or LED. PowearIN plans on offering the modules as standalone accessories, so you can purchase the ones you want without having to buy a bunch of extras. The jacket also comes in two versions, and the Citylife version (shown here in yellow) is a bit sleeker and less "pockety" than the puffy-pocketed Camping (blue) version.

PowearIN is raising money on Kickstarter now, offering the Light version in your choice of Citylife or Camping style at pledge levels of US$249 and up. The fully featured Functional version is available at pledge levels of $359+. The Functional version includes integrated safety and security features, such as magnetic anti-theft, a heat-monitoring auto shutoff system for the charging infrastructure, and an anti-electromagnetic interference pocket for your phone or electronic cards.

We should note that the Functional version does not come with the cuff-based handheld charger or wireless phone charger, according to PowearIN's Kickstarter chart, so the buyer will have to add those separately (the wireless system is offered as a Kickstarter add-on). Some accessories, like the counterweight modules, are dependent upon reaching certain Kickstarter goals.

If you think the PowearIN jacket might be for you, it'd be worth comparing the Functional and Light versions using the aforementioned chart. While browsing the Kickstarter campaign, you'll also find more information about the jacket's full feature set, including a couple of smaller features we didn't mention (yeah, there's actually more). The four-minute video below also provides a pretty good look, but be prepared for an awful melodramatic love scene toward the end.


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