France Telecom R&D has invented a screen made of woven optical fibres that can be integrated with standard textiles. This mean's that your t-shirt, scarf or backpack will enable text, artwork, static or animated images and advertising logos - probably the most viable market entry point for the technology - to be downloaded and viewed on an in-built screen that will also act as a wireless interface to communications networks like the internet. Add this to the hands-free phone-jacket jacket concept and you can and do away with any need to carry a mobile or PDA - you just wear it.
A prototype design unveiled the Avantex 2002 international trade show is intended to attract interest from various sectors including emergency services, the media automotive manufacturers and furniture designers.
The ultimate goal of this research is to combine high-level voice recognition with the visual component to produce true "hands-free" connectivity and do away with any need to carry a mobile or PDA - you just wear it. Voice recognition development at France Telecom R&D is highlighted by the "phone jacket" concept. Currently in testing, the prototype features a lightweight (100 g), flat telephone sewn into the jacket's lining and a microphone in the collar. The user can dial using voice commands or access a keypad in the button flap but otherwise the device is hidden from view.
Read more about the latest "Smart Clothing" developments in Gizmo's next Print Issue.