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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

GADGETS: The ultimate retro wearable? Meet the Personal Pi Smart Jacket!

We’ve seen some brilliant wearable tech over the past year or two, but sometimes devices seem to take themselves a bit too seriously. Not so the Personal Pi Smart Jacket, which crams a lot of tech into something that looks like an escapee from the 1990s! Fancy one of these?

Wearables come in a near unlimited number of different form factors, from the cutting-edgeGoogle Glass, to clever but subtle sat-nav shoes, to smart and classy smartwatches like theMoto 360. You can now add the Personal Pi Smart Jacket to the list, and as the name hints, it features an integrated Raspberry Pi mini-computer and a whole lot more besides.

Sticking a Pi into a jacket on its own wouldn’t make much sense, as there’s not actually a lot you’d be able to do with it. Which is why this particular smart jacket also gets an integratedscreen and a particularly fabulous retro keyboard, all covered up under handy flaps. It even gets voice control, although we can’t imagine it matching up to the likes of Google Now!

That’s just the start though, as the Pi Smart Jacket also boasts Wi-Fi, an integrated 5-Megapixel webcam, a microphone and speaker, a 4-port USB hub, a power pack/solar charging and 32GB of storage. Phew! It genuinely is a computer you can wear, with the ability to view YouTube, carry out Google searches, play music and more. Although you will have to do all of that using a tiny 240×320-pixel display…

The Personal Pi Smart Jacket is currently a project on Kickstarter, with Matt Brasseur, the man behind it, looking to raise $11,000 (£6,477) for his insane creation.

Matt has some bold claims for the Pi Smart Jacket, with future iterations of the jacket having larger, flexible displays, GPS and sat-nav. Matt adds: “Currently my project is a bit more bulky than the average person would desire. I not only believe I can make these jackets the next generation in wearable tech, but also make them available to the to the world at a reasonable cost.”

Sadly you can’t currently buy Matt’s awesome jacket, but you will be able to get your hands on the Raspberry Pi software he uses on it for $15 Canadian Dollars (£8). As for the rest of the jacket, with off-the-shelf bits and pieces, you could always have a crack at making your own – and Brasseur reckons you could piece your own together for around $400 (£235), while a complete version could cost up to $850 (£500)! We’d certainly love to see the results and reenact our favourite Watch Dogs scenes!

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