It’s 2020, and we have been taunted by automatic auto-drying jackets and self-lacing shoes that would have arrived five years ago. But today’s clothing has gone a long way of integrating electronic technologies. And we’re not speaking design and manufacturing, but wearer experience. Here are some facts about hi-tech clothing. There is a collection of heated accessories from yourmotobro.com, a prospect of flexible displays in clothing, and LED T-shirts you can already have and wear.
It’s Getting Hot in Here, So Power Off Your Clothes
Getting an electric heating system (similar to that you have in your heated floors) in clothes is quite a common thing nowadays. No wonder bikers were among the first to appreciate this system. Unlike car drivers, they face the chill when it’s cold; and unlike walkers or bicyclers, they face the wind. So clothes heating is crucial for motorcycle drivers unless they are ready to put up with endless layers of constraining sweaters and pants.
An example of this hi-tech jacket is the Hotwired Evo 12V Heated Thermal Mid Layer Winter Jacket Liner, as yourmotobro.com shows. Being quite thin and not restraining your moves, it is made of nylon, with carbon fiber heating elements channeling the entire jacket. It delivers advanced heating options as well. There are six heating zones controlled separately, and there’s no need to take out your smartphone and run the app because the controller is a small touch surface on the outer side of it. It also may get wired to compatible Hotwired gloves, so you can plug them to each other, and then to your bike battery. Be careful to try it before buying, though, as their size matters.
Another famous brand of motorcycle heated clothing is Firstgear. It offers entire sets of heated clothing, including pants, jackets, and gloves, all compatible within the line. Along with that, Firstgear offers specific accessories, like Heat Troller – a controller for regulating the temperature. It’s also available in Double version, so you can, for example, control the heating of your pants and gloves separately.
Gerbing is among the most respectable brands when it comes to heated clothes, but respectability and long history can go together with experiments. The acclaimed pant liners by Gerbing are an example of its approach. The item contains leg and heap heating zones, controlled separately for each leg. The item comes with a Bluetooth controller that lets you adjust the heat manually when you’re riding.
If you got interested in buying such a heated outfit (by one of these brands or by any other), you must remember two things. First: it may seem attractive to buy it on Amazon, especially if it’s discounted. But first, you need to try it on. And this means you need to ride in it even a little distance to realize whether your moves are free or constrained. Mind the actual size, not the label.
Second: no one grants compatibility. If you want to get yourself a complete outfit, from socks to gloves, you better opt for a set by the same vendor. It reminds the situation in the mobile phone industry before Micro USB took over; each vendor used its own sockets, so you couldn’t charge a Nokia phone with a Samsung charger, and vice versa. It’s not the matter of style only: you can suddenly find out that the pants by Gerbing fit perfectly, but the jacket is too tight, while one by Firstgear was made just for your measures. Usually, it’s the matter of connectors: if they physically fit, there should be no issues with voltage or other electric matters.
Off the Bike: Self-Heating Clothes
All the gears above are meant for riding a motorcycle, so they assume you power them with your bike’s battery. But there are numerous analogs for skiing, hunting, jogging, or just walking around in cold weather. The principle is the same. The user experience differs in one thing: you need to have a charged power bank on you to keep the heat.
Usually, these clothes come equipped with a standard Micro USB or Type-C input, so you are free to power it with any power bank you already have. There are, though, some models that have a built-in power bank; you only have to charge it before you leave. The most advanced items have Bluetooth controllers, so you can adjust the heat with the app on your smartphone.
It may come as a surprise, but brands like Adidas, Nike, Reebok, or Puma are mostly not ready yet to introduce heating technologies, investing in materials and processing instead. Columbia Sportswear is one of the rare exceptions. Suddenly, best-heated clothing manufacturers come from other industries. There are high-rated heated jackets and gloves by Milwaukee Tool, a manufacturer of power tools and equipment, or by Xiaomi, best known by its smartphones and accessories. Specialized startups, like Firstgear, Gerbing, or other reviewed on yourmotobro.com, also do well.
LED Show on Your T-Shirt
There are two ways to have your motto of the day on your T-shirt. First: you just buy tons of them, with mottos and slogans for every situation, and then spend hours in the morning, selecting the right one. Second: you get a LED-equipped T-shirt, so you can change your picture or text whenever you wish, using the app on your smartphone. We say “T-shirts” because it makes little sense (if any) to electrify pants or hats like this.
Another type of LED-ified T-shirts only assume some preprogrammed animation already in their memory. You can just turn it on or off, not changing anything. The button is easy to access, though.
This sort of electrified clothing is great for party animals or public persons. You will draw attention when a bright animation is on you. Perfect for night clubs and parties where everyone tries to star, the LED T-shirt is a public announcement of being up to date.
When Galaxy Fold Becomes Ancient
We finish our review that started with futuristic concepts from the 1980s with futuristic prospects being made now. It’s not that common knowledge, but there was a predecessor to the famous Galaxy Fold by Samsung: a flexible phone by Royole. And even before that, Royole (established in 2012) had demonstrated flexible screens to be embedded into regular clothes. Probably the most hyped demonstration took place in Russia during the World Cup in 2018. But the vendor has done a lot to develop and advertise flexible screens.
Alas, the price of these items is fantastic now. While a regular LED T-shirt is about $30, a programmable one is about $80, and heated jackets and pants are around $100-200, a flexible LED set of a T-shirt and a hat was initially offered at $1,399. Quite a price, unless you really belong in the future.