Wearable web: T-shirts, Pebble Time, and WiFi sheep

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

WiFi sheep
WiFi-enabled sheep may help rural areas access the web.

MIT students are taking social networking to the next level with Bluetooth-enabled T-shirts that electronically display your interests.

I guess your style really can say a lot about you! The high-tech shirt uses thermo-chromatic ink, meaning its colors react to temperature, and it has a thin circuit layer under the fabric. By synching up with your phone, it can display letters to show off your interests, and it also communicates with other wearers in the room. Its creators imagine that one day, vegetarians could easily spot each other in a crowd and go grab lunch together, or people in need of organ donors could be matched more easily. You’d basically be able to strike up a conversation with total strangers that share your hobbies! I wonder if advertisers will start offering money for people to “wear” their products?

Ever since Pebble Time’s smartwatch broke the all-time crowdfunding record on Kickstarter earlier this year, it’s been giving Apple Watch a serious run for its money.

While futuristic T-shirts might take a while to catch on in the growing wearables market, smartwatches like Apple Watch are already here, offering everything from apps to heartbeat monitors on your wrist. Pebble Time raised over $20.3 million, passing up the previous record of $13.3 million earned by the Coolest Cooler drink cooler. The company has already shipped over 1 million smartwatches, but competition is growing fierce with companies like Samsung, LG, Microsoft, and Motorola getting in on the action. Their latest product, Pebble Time, is a light-weight smartwatch with a metal frame and color e-paper display. It can show 30 frames per second and last 7 days on a single battery charge!

Researchers are equipping sheep and reindeer with WiFi transmitters to expand wireless access in rural areas.

What?! Yes, you heard right. In places where the internet is tough to get a hold of, like the rural communities of Wales in the United Kingdom, scientists are turning to unique solutions. Researchers say that they’re using the WiFi mainly to study sheep movements for now, but it may one day pave the way for livestock-enabled internet. The trick is getting them not to wander around too randomly, as animals often do, or WiFi signals may be uneven. So, by mapping out their flock patterns, scientists can prevent future web users from blaming sheep for a poor connection! Something tells me, though, that there wasn’t a huge demand among these animals for wearable technology…

Featured image courtesy of Pebble Time. Image of shepherd courtesy of castgen on Flickr (modified with text by Clubhouse News).