Garment-Augmented Technology: Cell phones and Shoulder Pad

A Shoulder Pad Insert Vibrotactile Display by Aaron Toney, Lucy Dunne, Bruce H. Thomas, Susan P. Ashdown describes a project that aims at integrate a vibrotatcitle display and support electronics into a standard clothing insert, the shoulder pad.

The shoulder pad in particular was chosen as a highly useful garment insert because of its common integration into the standard business suit, one of the most culturally pervasive garments in western society. (...) The objective for this project was to develop a tactile display contained within a standard shoulder pad that could present a stimulus to the user. More specifically, the display needed to be capable of presenting several distinct stimuli in multiple locations at once, and it needed to maintain the the functions of a shoulder pad: shape, stability, and flexibility.

The pad is meant to display to mimic social conventions such as tapping on the shoulder area for alerts or guidance. One of the authors, Bruce Thomas, reports that:

"As one example, we are working on a set of pager motors integrated into a shoulder pad for a business suit," Thomas said. One idea is to have silent vibration patterns -- similar to custom ring tones -- coded to incoming phone numbers. "This way, when you are in a meeting you have a better idea of who is trying to contact you and you are not always pulling your phone out to see who is calling,"