Alina Balean and Rucha Patwardhan’s Smart Hoodie- The wearable text messenger.
The ubiquitous hoodie, typically worn by today’s youth, athletes and thug engineers everywhere. We usually don’t associate them with technology, however you will often find that those who ‘sport’ the garment often keep their cellphone in the front pocket. Since pocket space is very limited and therefore valuable, it only makes sense that two New York University graduate students would incorporate the cellphone into the hoodie itself.
That’s right, wearable computing in all of its glory. Alina Balean and Rucha Patwardhan designed their Smart Hoodie around an Arduino microcontroller combined with an Arduino GSM shield, which processes inputs from sensors sewn into the hoodies sleeves. The setup does not actually incorporate a cellphone into the mix but rather uses the Arduino to interpret gestures into pre-programmed text messages that are then sent wirelessly through the GSM shield. For example, if the wearer rolls up the left sleeve, it sends a text notification to a pre-programmed recipient. The same can be done for simply putting on the garment or rolling up the right sleeve as well.
While that might seem unremarkable for all intents and purposes, it is an ingenious first step in wearable computing that has a purpose other than being flashy (LED dresses anyone?). Sure sending text messages is mundane when using your thumbs but think of the ‘covert’ potential this has. Students could send pre-programmed answers to tests by incorporating a vibrational motor into the garment for multiple choice answers (first buzz the number then the letter).
Users could also alert family and friends of potential threats without the assailant knowing what’s going on. Soldiers could relay coded messages without giving away their location and backwater adventurers could alert first responders without the need of using their hands (they could be broken!). The possibilities are endless and users have the extra-added bonus of more pocket space to boot!
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