Roll up your sleeve to send a message that you’re busy or touch your hood to let someone know you’re thinking about them. While discreet, these movements convey real meaning and are the premise behind the Smart Hoodie, a project by Alina Balean and Rucha Patwardhan, both students in NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. Outfitted with Arduino controllers, the Smart Hoodie is responds to pre-programmed touches and is capable of sending messages through the wearers smart phone.

Balean and Patwardhan have been exploring how electronics could be paired with textiles in their classes at NYU’s ITP. They built their own DIY cell phone with an Arduino and an Arduino GSM shield and were intrigued by new wearable devices. They decided to see if they could go even further and make a functional piece of clothing, like a hoodie, act more like a cell phone. The goal was to make a practical piece of clothing more functional and useful in every day life.

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The Smart Hoodie is basically a wearable SMS machine and can send text messages when the wearer performs prescribed movements or touches. Arduino controllers and sensors are integrated into the hoodie so that, when the wearer pulls on the left sleeve, a message will be sent saying he/she is busy. Likewise a button on the right sleeve sends a message saying the wearer is available to chat and then by touching the sides of the hood, it sends a message of love.

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Balean tested the hoodie out and programmed the system to text her mother, but it could have easily have been set to update a social networking status, indicate location, send emails and so forth. Balean and Patwardhan see their hoodie and work being useful when people need to discreetly send messages without being noticed, but it could also be useful for children or women traveling alone. They envision an app where users can program actions to mean certain things and send messages to who or where they want.

+ Smart Hoodie

+ Alina Balean and Rucha Patwardhan

[Via The Creator’s Project]