Excalibur Online

Wearable Tech

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Why is it when you are watching the Oscars - with dresses specially made for the event - that they clip a big black microphone on the presenters, like some sort of afterthought? It is strange that these dresses, which surely cost a fortune to make, fit absolutely perfect on the actresses but somehow get saddled with a randomly placed microphone, totally overshadowing the earrings that they probably spent days picking out for the event.

Why don't they have a built-in microphone hide-away pocket? These dresses are probably only ever going to be worn once. If they are indeed special only-for-the-Oscars creations, why not incorporate the microphone? It is not like they did not realize that people might want to hear them as well as look at them while they were presenting.

Well, I am giving them the benefit of the doubt here. And hey, I am all for the cyborg-look and would openly wear a microphone too, if I had any use for one; however, I am sure I would do better to integrate it into my clothing.

Now, let us think of an industry that has had some experience with hiding microphones - one comes to mind quite readily - the film industry. I mean, I know it is only the 78th annual Oscars, but they did not really have to look too far for the expertise.

On the other hand, perhaps this is all deliberate. Perhaps the microphones weighing down the starlets' tops are placeholders for future advertisements. With high-definition, large-screen televisions getting popular, a corporate logo on a microphone may very well get noticed. Coupled with the freeze-frame and zooming technologies in the new televisions, the microphone-in-the-cleavage ad placement may become a huge new source of revenue. You read it here first.

Speaking of fitting your technology to your clothing, remember when people used to wear their phones hanging off their belts? I do not think I ever overhead anyone say: "Wow, look at that that guy's Nokia - and that leatherette case he has it in - where does he shop for his fashions? He must have special-ordered it from Radio Shack."

Well, guess what? This is what is happening with IPods all over again. For some reason, people do not think about where they will put their technology when they buy new clothes. Think about it. If you brought your IPod/camera/Blackberry or what have you with you the next time you shop for a jacket, you could actually find one that looks great and holds your gear in a non-dorky fashion.

For example, I recently bought a great Arc'teryx gore-tex jacket with "radio pockets" that holds my Palm Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) perfectly. The zippers close in such a way that it is friendly to my headphones. It is waterproof, and I can actually feel the controls through the pockets' material so that I can pause, play, change the volume or skip tracks - all without ever taking the PDA out of my pocket. This is better than having a remote control for your player, since you have less to carry and tangle up and have instant access, even with gloved hands.

The alternative is to dangle them from your belt and pay for an overpriced case that adds bulk to your formerly little IPod nano, or to fish them out of your bag or purse. Worst of all, you may have to carry it in your hand the whole time. But if you do not like the integrated look, at least try to get Apple to pay for your advertising of their product while you carry it around town.

Excalibur Naked Tech