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Interactive T-shirts – geeks today, tomorow the world

By Damir Beciri
30 October 2009

personal_soundtrack_shirt_inuseDoes your life seem dull and uninteresting compared to the drama and action of movies and television? The guys from ThinkGeek examined that phenomenon carefully and developed several interactive T-shirts for you. With the sense which came along with overwhelming exposure to reality TV shows and quickly produced movies which are based on similar plots or themes, they noted that what people do in real life is NOT significantly less exciting than what fictional characters on the screen experience.

Your real life experiences just don’t have the needed dramatic soundtrack to back them up. Whether you’re brushing your teeth, walking your dog or chatting up that cute girl in chemistry class you need the appropriate music and sound effects to enhance the experience. Fortunately they have developed the solution for this irritating life boredom problem with the Personal Soundtrack Shirt (or you’ll be able to irritate people around you more than you could before).

The Personal Soundtrack Shirt is an amazing new wearable audio solution that features a working speaker embedded into the front of the shirt. When you push the appropriate button on the pocket remote you get music or sound effects appropriate for any situation. Check out the chart below to see the extensive list of built in sounds and suggestions on using them for dramatic punctuation in your everyday life.

If you don’t like the built in sounds, you can simply pop in your own SD memory card loaded with MP3 files to use your own sound effects and music. The Personal Soundtrack Shirt remote has buttons ranging from 1 to 20, and each button can play a different sound. The filename of your MP3 file determines which button will be used to play the sound. So if you name your file “03.mp3” it will play when you hit the “3” button on the remote. If you add an “L” to the end of the filename your sound will loop until you stop it. So “04L.mp3” would play when you hit button “4” and loop endlessly until you hit a new sound or the pause button.

The Personal Soundtrack Shirt can also play sound from your portable audio player through the speaker on the front of the shirt. Simply connect your portable audio player to the audio “input” jack on the battery box of the shirt and power it on (you will need a male-to-male headphone cable, not included). The Soundtrack Shirt amplifies your music and you can use the volume control on your portable audio player to control the volume level of the shirt.

The Electronic Guitar Shirt is not a toy that plays pre-canned musical riffs, it is a real musical instrument that allows you to play most of your favorite songs and sound great doing it. All major chords are recorded from a real electric guitar, and the included magnetic pick allows you to strum just like you would a real guitar. The included mini amp clips to your belt and gets plenty loud with great sounding amplification circuitry. The tone knob on the amp lets you adjust the sound just like a real guitar. It is simple, with power button and indicator, tone knob and volume knob which can be turned to 11 instead usual 10.

They also made an electronic T-shirt with a picture of an actual playable drum kit on the front. You can hit the drums on this shirt with your finger and they play through the built in speaker. With 7 different drum sounds you’re ready for a personal drum solo on your chest. Another T-shirt they came up with is rather visual and it can display the current Wi-Fi signal strength to yourself and everyone around you on a stylish Wi-Fi Detector Shirt. The glowing bars on the front of the shirt dynamically change as the surrounding Wi-Fi signal strength fluctuates.

All of the T-Shirts mentioned above need to be separated from electronic parts before washing, you couldn’t expect some hi-tech solutions and materials for very affordable prices these T-shirts are offered at. As technology advances we will most probably see more and more interactive T-shirts around ourselves. Let’s just hope we won’t turn into walking-noisy-glowing-creatures.

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