Sunday, September 21, 2008

Get Smart?

An Apple patent application, filed in March of 2007 and published last week, describes a ‘Smart Garment’ that would allow a device to authenticated to a specific garment. When the garment is authenticated, however, unapproved garments would be blocked from being able to use the device. Sounds all sci-fi to us!

Apple however is clearly trying to enforce a DRM like pairing of clothing with technology. The company specifically cites the Nike+iPod system as an example of a system that works with a specially-made shoe, the Nike+ shoe. These have a little crevice cut out under the sole that allows the user to place a transmitter inside the shoe, which wirelessly sends data to your iPod about your walk or run. James Bond’s ‘M’ would be impressed!

Nike+iPod Sports Kit was launched in 2006. Apple argues that the system is more about preventing thieves from taking the device and attempting to use it with unauthorized garments. Some would argue that such secure for a relatively cheap device is a little excessive.

Apple's patent describes using the sensor within the garment itself in order to provide more data to the user, such as the rate of wear of a running shoe. “In this way, by providing a notification that one or both of the running shoes should be replaced, the runner may be better able to avoid injuries related to outworn equipment," writes Apple. With GPS the system could also track location and elevation data providing even more detailed statistics, or it on-the-spot information to where to stop and have a latte!

Some may think this sort of product tie up is cool, we personally think the kids have taken control of the chocolate factory!! Would you embed it in a garment with an ebook reader or would you embed it in duvets and easy chairs?

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