Would You Wear A ‘Smart Hoodie’ That Could Text?

Image via alinabalean.com/Smart Hoodie

In an attempt to see how far people can push the boundaries of smart technology, two NYU graduate students came up with a new “smart” product: the Smart Hoodie.

What they call “the wearable phone” or “the cell phone sweater,” the Smart Hoodie is what graduate students, Alina Balean and Rucha Patwardhanat the NYU Interactive Telecommunication Program (ITP) created as a project to explore the way fabrics could be used with electronics.

Through touch and fabric manipulation, the Smart Hoodie is programmed to send canned messages to a pre-determined contact. Tell your mom you miss her by putting the hoodie on and touching the hood; or tell her you’re busy and can’t talk by rolling up your sleeve. You can even start a Skype call by pressing a button.

Although limited in features and still with many unanswered troubleshooting questions, Balean says she and Patwardhan wanted to create a cell phone device in a way that no one had before.
“Modern phones have a variety of services such as text messaging, multimedia messages, email, Internet, applications, photography and Bluetooth. Yet over the years we’ve yet to offer an alternative interface that wasn’t a handheld device,” Balean says on her website.

Improvements to the technology in the form of smart watches and Google Glass are enhancing the possibilities; what if we pushed the envelope just a little more?”

Balean says the target audience for a product like Smart Hoodie would include the “techie individual,” who already has access to a computer and Internet with the potential of it being reiterated as a safety device for lone travelers, children,or those wanting to “communicate discreetly.”

Smart Hoodie, the cellphone sweater from Alina Balean on Vimeo.