Arduino-powered clothing is nothing new; we’ve seen CO2-detecting dresses, compass belts and inbox-checking T-shirts all within the last six months. But this Ping social networking garment concept is not quite the same thing. Where those were DIY projects with a single-function, Ping is the brainchild of a professional UI designer… and the fabric itself is a social network UI that registers your movements as attempts to communicate.
Woven with flexible sensors and conductive threads connected to an Arduino Lilypad and Xbee, clothing made from the fabric can detect when you lift a hood or tie a ribbon and wirelessly send Facebook status updates accordingly — or tap you on the shoulder in a number of different rhythms so you know not only when, but who might be trying to get in touch. Designer Jennifer Darmour imagines a future in which clothing offers full-body 3D gesture recognition and senses our environment. When we can reliably use it to control our computers, we hope she’ll get in touch.