'Oops, My Shirt's Out of Batteries': The New World of Wearable Tech

Fashion's new frontier involves LED lights, fiberoptic fabrics, and electrified threads.

Things in the world that, at this point, don't run on batteries: love, laughter, unicorns. And that's pretty much it. We are, as a culture, increasingly battery-powered. Rather than simplifying our relationship to our objects -- and rather than conserving electricity -- we're getting more and more clever with what we bring to life with portable power: kids' toys, toothbrushes, razorsmicrowaves, even (!) candles.

So it's logical that our battery mania would extend, eventually, to ... our clothes. And not just to practical inventions like, say, the battery-heated parka. The new frontier of fashion, The New York Times reports, is wearable technology -- powered by LED lights, fiberoptic fabrics, and electrified threads. Which seems both inevitable and inevitably annoying. Ironing your shirt is one thing; imagine having to worry about recharging it.


Images 1 - 3: Adafruit Industries. Images 4-7: Moon Berlin.


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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

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