Wearable electronics needn’t mean Google’s Glass headset, it could also be a t-shirt with an integrated display and camera that gets your clothes online. The handiwork of whiskey brand Ballantine’s and clothes company CuteCircuit, tshirtOS is a programmable, washable shirt with a built-in screen for displaying messages – whether Twitter updates, Facebook wall posts, or Instagram pictures – and the ability to snap pictures itself and push them directly to your photo stream.
CuteCircuit describes tshirtOS as a “wearable, shareable, programmable and 100% cotton tshirt”, and as you might expect there’s some cloud goodness in there too. The shirt itself has a microprocessor, which wirelessly connects to an iOS app; that can then call on the goodness of the internet at large to funnel information to and from your clothes.
Audio playback via a headphone jack is supported, and the company claims that the camera used in tshirtOS is the smallest in the world. In fact, it measures 2.5 x 2.9 x 2.5 mm and comes from Omnivision, though only captures at 32 x 32 resolution; still, the chest display itself only runs at 32 x 32, consisting of 1,024 ultrathin RGB LEDs.
Otherwise there’s an ultra-slim PCB with Bluetooth, USB, an accelerometer and a pair of headphone sockets, while the processor hasn’t actually been decided upon: CuteCircuit has been experimenting with two versions, one an 8-bit processor from ATMEL, and the other a 32-bit ARM Cortex (also sourced from ATMEL). The controller app will be for iPhone 4S and require iOS 5 or above.
It’s not the first we’ve seen of CuteCircuit, which has previously created dresses with integrated phones and ball gowns that have huge quantities of lights stitched through them. The tshirtOS could even stand a chance of being produced, though right now it’s a very expensive prototype. CuteCircuit says it will be monitoring interest before making a decision about a (cheaper) production version.