If you're the type who has a hard time going ten minutes without checking Facebook on your app-riddled smartphone, the Ping social networking garment was made for you. Designed by Jennifer Darmour for her Electric Foxy brand, Ping is a hooded vest/wrap that connects you wirelessly to your account no matter where you are, meaning it's even easier now to clutter your friends' wall feeds with needless information about your day-to-day life.
The company aims to keep everyone connected with their friends through simple, everyday gestures that are hardwired into the clothes we wear. "Lift up a hood, tie a bow, zip, button, and simply move, bend and swing to ping your friends naturally and automatically," says Darmour. "Simply go about your day, look good and stay connected."
There is a sensor built into the hood so when you lift it over your head or pull it back down, Ping sends a message to Facebook and automatically updates your status. The accompanying app enables you to customize your messages and assign them to specific groups of friends — which would keep you from flooding everyone's Facebook wall. You can also tailor the types of messages depending on your mood, who you're pinging, and where you are. If someone responds to your message, called a ping back, tech in the shoulder of the vest gives off a slight "tapping" movement to let you know. You can even change the tapping rhythm and assign certain beats to certain people and groups so you always know who is connecting with you.
Winner of the International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC) 2011 Best Execution Award, the project aims to be more than a simple social networking tool, with plans to branch into 3-D gesture-recognition tech and environmental sensing. Ping isn't available to the public yet but it's a stellar example of unique ways technology can be used in our present and future.
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