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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

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August 2001


2001 Autumn Designer's collectionMULTIMEDIA CLOTHING

The 2001 Autumn Designer's collection might well include a new fashion accessory… the "smart" scarf. But this is no ordinary scarf! With this particular garment, you can have a telephone conversation or videophone conference-or even surf the web! All while tucked comfortably in an elegant, shiny "smart" scarf. Unveiled at the Museum of Modern Art in February of this year in "Workspheres, an Examination of the Changing Nature of the Workplace," the "écharpe communicante" was designed for the worker-on-the-go of tomorrow. The scarf is essentially a long, detachable and interchangeable collar draped around the neck, equipped with built-in multimedia interfaces which include a voice-activated cell phone, a webcam, and a touch screen to access email, the Internet, MP3 files, video conferencing and personally-selected video clips.

The goal of the scarf and other wearable communication tools, like the "jacket," is to expand the senses into the virtual realm so that the wearer is not only here, but potentially "everywhere." Turning up the collar of the scarf attached to the jacket opens a telecommunications channel and brings the receiver closer to the wearer's ear. Wrapping the scarf around the neck and face, shifts the speaker in front of the mouth. This creates a barrier which isolates the wearer from the outside world. A computer with a flexible keyboard is ingeniously inserted into the matching jacket and a GSM phone. Future designs will incorporate miniaturization to allow complete integration of the components into the scarf alone.

The écharpe communicante was the result of a collaborative effort between researchers in the Studio Créatif labs, a unique entity within France Telecom R&D's Human Interaction Division, and a team of young French designers: architect Naziha Mestaoui, graphic designer Yacine Aït Kaci, and fashion designer Crstof, with support from France Telecom, North America in New York. Presumably, the scarf is waterproof and can do double duty as a cold-weather muffler.


Lisa Walker & Michael NierI3A DEBUT

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