Clothes that can make phone calls, play music, dial your pal’s number, keep you snug during cold weather, operate your computer…

Shirt That is a Mobile Phone
Shirt That is a Mobile Phone [Illustrations by Sudheer Nath]

This is not fantasy. A British company, called Electrotextiles, has created a dazzling range of clothes — clothes that have a mind of their own! Scientists, working for the company, have invented a fabric that can be blended with flexible electronic materials to create intelligent clothing. The result is elctronic garments.

If you think the wearer has to be wired to different gadgets, think again. These designer clothes are wire-free, soft to touch and washable!! Like any electronic device, these high-tech clothes have to be powered. Currently, a tiny nine-volt battery serves the purpose. But the researchers hope that in the near future, the clothes will generate electricity by using body heat. These clothes are 100 per cent shock proof, they say.

The Electrotextiles team has also created the world’s first cloth keyboard. This keyboard can be sewn into your trousers or skirt. To use this device, you will have to sit down and tap on your lap! These ‘lap-tap’ gadgets are all set to take over laptop computers!

Another useful garment is the shirt-cum-mobile phone. This handy invention enables drivers to chat comfortably — with both hands on the wheel! Other popular electronic wear include the denim jacket (with flexible ear-phones stitched into the hood) and the electronic ski-jacket with a built-in heater. The ski-jacket is also programmed to send signals to a satellite. This technology is known as global positioning and can be used to track lost skiers and wandering kids.

Having completed the cloth keyboard, scientists have already started work on a new project — a necktie that can be used as a computers’ mouse. What next? Do you have any ideas?