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Fashion Innovation of the Day: The World's First Programmable T-Shirt

Wear your tweets on your sleeve.

For those of you feeling that the revolution of digital self-expression has left your clothing untouched, have no fear: the programmable t-shirt is here. The T-ShirtOS could allow the owner to display anything on front - one of Shaq's tweets, a text from a loved one, or a photo of your cat. It's currently just a prototype, but the company says if enough people express interest, they could produce them in larger quantities.

The shirt features 1,024 LEDs arranged in a 32 by 32 grid, and a wireless connection to your phone, allowing you to broadcast nearly anything. In the video below, the designers categorize the t-shirt as "the original 'Like' button," which is a bit like calling a face the original profile pic.

We don't know why Scottish whiskey giant Ballantine's is sponsoring the world's first programmable t-shirt. What we do know is that it's being designed by CuteCircuit, the worldwide leader in wearable technology, or simply "wearables." Previous CuteCircuit wearables include the Kinetic dress, which changes color with body movement, and the Hug Shirt, which measures one's strength, skin warmth and heartbeat in order to send simulated hugs to friends around the world.

The Hug Shirt was one of Time Magazine's Best Inventions of 2006, along with the $4,740 CrustaStun, "the world's only compassionate stunning system for crabs and lobsters."

Here's the introduction to T-ShirtOS:

Video courtesy of Ballantine's.

About the Author

  • Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.