It may sound like a plot-leak from the next James Bond movie, or a low budget costume change for Iron Man, but recently high-tech jackets have been used to monitor and film any troublemakers in Cheltenham. The fluorescent jackets have been adopted by taxi marshals, who keep order at late-night taxi ranks, and thanks to alcohol receive more than their “fare share” of abuse and even violent assaults from the town’s yobs.
Now, with tiny CCTV cameras stitched into the official jackets, marshals can monitor and record any troublemakers at the scene, and even use the evidence in court if need be. Funded by the Cheltenham Community Safety Partnership, the jackets’ cameras switch between day and night mode automatically, before storing everything on an inbuilt memory card. On a busy night when anything up to 4,000 revellers may pass through taxi ranks, giving the marshals any advantage they have over the crowds is only a good thing.
‘Smart clothing’ as it is often referred to, comes in all shapes and sizes, and the term is used to describe clothing with some degree of technology built, or sewed, into in. From jumpers that self-regulate body heat to Levi’s Red Wire DLX iPod Jeans that have an inbuilt iPod docking station, smart clothing is on the increase as technology continues to get smaller. Though some of the smart clothes trends may seem a little futuristic to take off just yet, many technological initiatives have already become brand best sellers. When Nike launched its innovative Nike+ iPod running shoe and sports kit in 2006, it was hailed as the runner’s savour, as it combined a good quality running shoe with the ability to sync music to your running pace and monitor your distance and calorie loss as you ran.
For skiing, the Burton Audex iPod Field Jacket is pretty much the most advanced jacket you can find on the market too, as not only is it a top-notch ski jacket but it also lets you ride the slopes whilst changing to your favourite tracks with only a touch of the inbuilt receiver. Perhaps the perfect accessory to this is the Groove Master Messenger Bag, which, of course, comes with built-in speakers.
That’s nothing compared to the W-41. This tech-fashion T-shirt may seem like a regular item but on it is a logo which, if photographed through a Smartphone camera, will connect the photographer to the wearer’s social media pages of choice. So if you want to direct people to your blog or establish your social media identity on the move, then this could be the way of the future to do just that.
From solar powered handbags that let you charge up your mobile phone on the move, to jackets that alert mountain rescue teams if you’ve been caught in an avalanche, technology in clothing is on the increase and aims to make our hectic lifestyles that little bit easier.