People who think smart clothing refers to a suit and tie should get back to climbing their personal greasy pole. In Sneak’s book, smart clothing is the kind of apparel cooked up by Terence Arjo, a student at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Programme.
One project, dubbed Yo, Taxi!, features a coat with LEDs sewn into the cuff. When the wearer waves, the embedded lights flash on and off in synch with the movements of the arm to spell out “TAXI” in large letters, visible through the magic of persistence of vision, that even a blinkered London cabbie on his way home couldn't miss. This item would be particularly handy if it also included one of those traffic-light control devices that switch red traffic lights to green. OK, so they’re meant for the emergency services but they would also make Sneak’s crippling “follow that cab” bill a bit more affordable.
Those who can’t afford cabs have not been forgotten: another of Arjo’s brainchildren aims to restore the first casualty of overcrowded public transport – personal space. A coat covered with dangling plastic strips is normally perfectly passive, but get too close to the wearer and the strips bristle outwards like the spines of a porcupine.
Sneak would like a coat like this - but instead of harmless plastic strips, Sneak suggests using coat-hanger wire and the electrical subsystem from a cattle-prod.
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