The very latest
fashion item for computer fans, tourists and people with visual
impairments is being designed in Bristol.
the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol
have developed the "Cyberjacket", a wearable mobile computer
modelled on an ordinary biker's jacket, contains a wealth of computer
and communications systems built into its fabric.
a Global Positioning System unit to tell the wearer exactly where
they are. Scientists say this, combined with stored information,
could be used to guide tourists around any area in the world.
One of those
behind the project, Professor David May, said:"The GPS always
knows where it is. if you combine this with stored information in
the computer it can guide people through the streets and tell them
what is of interest around them."
The system could
also be used to find other people. Jacket wearers could search,
probably via the internet, for the location of other jackets and
find out where friends or business contacts are currently located.
There is still
a great deal of development before the jacket will become commercially
viable but much of the computer work has already been done to prove
the system is workable.
for the jacket, also being developed at Bristol University, is as
an aid for the visually impaired.
jacket and computer with a special headset would allow pictures
from a helmet camera to be converted into colourful images more
easily recognisable to people with poor eyesight and then displayed
on a special set of glasses.
The man behind
this research is Professor Barry Thomas.
images presented would be highly stylised and almost psychedelic
consisting of vivid colours and graphic representations of an area,
but our research shows they would be easier for people with limited
vision to follow."
the jacket links to a headset for visually impaired users.
believes the jacket will become commercially available but is not
putting any time-scale on when it will be in the shops.
is not always possible to say what is commercially interesting at
a given time."
use for the jacket which may prove a winner with young singles is
as a dating aid. The jacket's systems can be set to give out information
about the wearer which would then be available to anyone else with
explained:"You could find out what you needed to know about
the person next to you without having to question them. That could
be useful whether dating or at a big business meeting."
as the Cyberjacket is properly known, is already available in the
shops to a limited degree.
Levi Strauss last year introduced a jacket designed to hold a mobile
phone system with built in hands-free systems and pouches to hold
phones and connect cables inside the clothing.
is a long way ahead of that but may not be in your local fashion
store for some time.
left how a visually impaired person might see a street scene
and on the right how the Cyberjacket computer converts the image.
of University of Bristol Department of Computer Science.