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The BBC's Sue Nelson
"Each of these 600 jackets is literally wired for sound"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 16 August, 2000, 00:02 GMT 01:02 UK
'Techno' clothing hits high street
Techno-jacket
Techno-clothing could bring health benefits
The world's first commercially available electronic clothing is about to go on sale in high streets across Europe.

Clothes equipped with fully integrated computer networks have been designed and developed in a joint venture between clothing company Levi's and electronics company Philips, following three years of intensive research.

The clothes, which could become the essential fashion of the future, enable the wearer to be fully connected to the world wide web at all times.

Techno-jacket
Advanced technology could rob people of their privacy
Jackets equipped with a mobile phone, a portable audio device, a remote control panel, a microphone and headphones, will cost about 600.

The clothing was first previewed this year at the Brave New Unwired World Fashion Technology Show in London.

Experts are predicting that this latest "geek chic" will lead to even further technological advances in the future.

Philippa Wagner, of Philips Design, said clothing was currently being developed which could be used to monitor people's health, with the fabric itself acting as the electricity conductor.

This could include maternity wear capable of detecting the heartbeat of a foetus or garments which could wire elderly people directly to their GP.

Disadvantages of the jackets include the possible implications of network crashes and the effects of rainstorms on techno-clothing while being worn.

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