While it was pouring in NYC this morning, many commuters struggling to avoid the deluge must have thought about how great it would be to text their coworkers to say they were en route without the risk of drowning their phones. I know that went through my head as I pulled a hoodie over my soggy mess of hair. "Smart Hoodie," a project by NYU ITP students Alina Balean and Rucha Patwardhan, is the exact kind of technological panacea we all could have used just a few hours ago, as it offers users the chance to send text messages by simply touching a sweatshirt.
Using an Arduino insert and GSM shield that connects it to the Internet, Smart Hoodie turns a jacket into a wearable SMS machine. By touching the sleeves, rolling them up, or pressing on the hood, the gestures trigger various messages, such as "I miss you mom," or "I'm in class." Today, I really could have used this wearable to say "I'm drenched and don't have an umbrella. Moments away from crying. Sorry I'm late."
"We wanted to build an object that isn’t a piece of glass that lives in your jeans," the creators wrote on their project page. "Gestures that used to require your fingers on a tiny piece of glass now are translated into everyday movements."
They also explained that the hoodie could be used for other forms of communication, including a safety device for children traveling by themselves, or anyone who needs to communicate discreetly. On the negative side, it sounds like an exam cheater's dream wearable. On the positive, note-passing has never been so cool.
Check out more about Smart Hoodie over on its website, here.