The next time your 'buds are in and someone stops to chat, you might need to unzip your jacket. Let's just hope that person knows why--your zipper is your MP3 player's volume control.
We've seen wearable technology such as climate-reflecting dresses, but most of these garments are prototypes that will never see the production line (mostly due to high costs and a fragmented manufacturing process.)
Darmour, an experiential prototyper with a knack for interactive garments, took gestures we're accustomed to--zipping and unzipping--and integrated a common gadget control, volume.
Zip is also designed to be a ready-to-wear piece, as Darmour was able to adjust the circuitry and pattern enough to keep costs down in mass production. Sometimes garments with circuitry, like Ping (another design from Darmour), are too complicated to be produced in quantities.
It also doesn't hurt that the jacket is actually quite attractive. Unlike some wearable tech that looks a little too futuristic and funky for mainstream adoption, Zip could easily sit inconspicuously on shelves of contemporary women's clothing stores.
There's just one fundamental issue: Are you stuck cranking your music at full volume if you get cold? We hope there's some workaround.
If Zip is the sign of a ready-to-wear wearable tech trend, we should see more interactive clothing in 2011. Availability and pricing isn't yet available, but you can keep tabs on Zip and Darmour's other projects on electricfoxy.
Until then, here's a (beautiful) video of the jacket for your viewing pleasure: