Solar Bikini Redux: Smart Clothes At Siggraph ’07

Wear a bikini in the sun to charge your Shuffle? Heard it before, but still it’s not a bad idea, unless you turn instantly to ash in sunlight like I do — and while some of us might want to *own* a disco ball, few of us want to *wear* one. But it looks like the black goth parasol to solar-power my gadget menagerie is a bit nearer at hand. Check out this light wrapup of all the fun concept smart clothes seen at Siggraph 07, including wearable, solar-charged his and hers sex toys, snip:

If the Siggraph 2007 exhibition of future fashions in San Diego is anything to go by, your wardrobe will soon charge your iPod, convey hidden messages, light your home and act as a video game console. Get ready for clothes infused with electronic gadgets and computers that can help you in your daily life – or just give you a laugh.
One piece of smart clothing you might decide not to wear in public is designer Jenny Chowdhury’s “intimate controllers“. These are a set of wired-up his-and-hers undies that she describes as “a collaborative video console for couples”. The garments have three pairs of touch pads hidden in increasingly intimate places which the couple have to press in the correct order while being prompted by a set of symbols on a computer screen. As players get better the software encourages them to go for the more intimate pads. “You can’t get any further unless both players are playing the game well,” said Ms Chowdhury, who developed the idea as a solution to “video-game widowhood”.
A device that could give a whole new meaning to the phrase wardrobe malfunction is Andrew Schneider’s solar bikini. The skimpy swimwear is covered with 40 flexible photovoltaic cells which feed into a USB connection that can plug straight into your iPod.
Mr Schneider, of New York University, said that just two hours of sunbathing was enough to charge an iPod shuffle. But fans of a dip in the ocean will have to be careful. “You can go in the water, you just have to make sure you are absolutely dry before you plug your iPod in,” he said. He is currently developing a pair of solar-panel covered shorts called iDrink. With the extra sun-capturing area, he predicts these will be capable of generating enough charge to chill a beer.
Elena Corchero has developed a range of accessories such as bracelets and fans which also incorporate solar panels. During the day they soak up the rays. At night they become a decorative ambient light display.

Though I gotta say, I wish this year’s images were more like this fun set from previous years.

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