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7 Hi-Tech Tees

We're all used to posts about the intersection between technology and design, or technology and medicine, but what about technology and fashion? Here are some t-shirts making the most of the latest and greatest tech innovations. (note: a few of these shirts are available for purchase over at ThinkGeek.com)

1. The Guitar Tee

Can't bring your guitar with you to the gym? Don't, er, fret! The electronic guitar tee is just what you need. This cool shirt sports a working guitar and mini amp with a magnetic pick. All of the buttons on the neck play different major chords, which makes it simple to handle, even if you don't play for real. And the chords are sampled from real electronic guitars! Oh, and, yeah, the mini-Marshall stack amplifier definitely goes to 11.

2. The Smart Tee

Here at mental_floss, we love all things smart. So this one is especially interesting to us: a shirt that not only features some cool technology, but could save a life. Originally designed at Georgia Tech for use in battle, the shirt is a wearable and wireless motherboard. This lightweight and unobtrusive garment can be worn under clothes and continually monitors vital signs. As it was originally designed, it allowed medics to learn about bullet wounds and vital signs of all combatants within minutes of any injury. By having this information readily available, medics were able to find and treat the neediest more quickly and efficiently. The smart shirt has been adapted for several other uses, such as for firemen and police, but also has more mainstream appeal. The shirt can be made into any size and customized to fit anyone. So, a much smaller version has been created to monitor babies who are prone to SIDS. Now that's smart!

3. The Wi-Fi Detector Tee

Tired of just getting settled and then opening your laptop to discover there is no Wi-Fi service in your cozy little corner? Now you can know immediately what signals are stitched around you (and the strengths). This revolutionary t-shirt has an animated graphic that you can peel off for washing. Best thing about it? You get the strength for 802.11b or 802.11g. You will need, however, 3 AAA batteries.

4. The Bulletproof Tee

Did you know that President Obama wore a bullet resistant suit during his inauguration? While these bullet resistant shirts are not as tough as a Kevlar vest, they can still stop a bullet from causing a life threatening injury. Lightweight and more comfortable than a vest, the t-shirts can be worn under any clothing, undetected. It's made out of carbon nanotubes, which are thought to be resilient to projectiles traveling at speeds of 200-1400 meters per second. (FYI: A typical rifle bullet flies at between 180 and 1500 meters per second.) In addition to stopping a bullet in its tracks, these shirts will cause the average person to freeze up when reaching for the wallet. For instance, a polo shirt that can stop a shot from a 9-mm revolver will run you about $7,500!

5. The Data-Logging Compression Shirt

Did you know torn ligaments from pitching injuries cost millions in salaries each year? Three students at Northwestern U did, which is part of the reason they set about inventing this cool shirt that monitors the movements of a pitcher and analyzes inconsistencies that could lead to injury. The shirt is a valuable training tool and can help coaches strategize when to replace a pitcher. Labrum tears can ruin a pitcher's career and torn ligaments lead to over $54 million dollars in lost wages every year for major league pitchers. The shirts can be produced for less than $200. Indeed, wearable technology has definitely hit the big leagues.

6. The Cardio Shirt

Working out is important for overall health, but how can you be sure you are working hard enough? The Cardio Shirt monitors your heart rate and transmits it to a special watch. You will always know exactly how fast your heart is beating without being irritated by heart monitor chest straps or those ridiculously inaccurate sensors on stationary bikes and elliptical machines. The shirt is perfect for athletes in training or the everyday jogger. Monitoring your workouts can lead to more effective use of your time and help you to detect any developing health problems by noticing changes in heart rate patterns.

7. The Personal Soundtrack Tee

Ever wish you were the star of your own TV show? Well, the Personal Soundtrack tee can make you feel like you are living in the movies. This t-shirt comes preprogrammed with 20 sound effects to help punctuate your day. However, you can also insert a SD memory card with your own top 20 hits and stream background music of your choice. But wait, there's more! Hook up the shirt to your iPod and the possibilities are endless. The shirt has a speaker integrated into the front and comes with a pocket sized remote. Oh, and, yeah, if you're a fan of The Big Bang Theory, you probably recognize the picture there from the episode where Rajesh Koothrappali wore one!

And while on the subject of tees, don't forget all the awesomely _flossy t-shirts over in our store!

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Helen Maybanks, (c) RSC
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Pop Culture
Royal Shakespeare Company Auctions Off Costumes Worn By Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Patrick Stewart, and More
Helen Maybanks, (c) RSC
Helen Maybanks, (c) RSC

The stages of the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England have been graced by some of the most celebrated performers of our day. Now, the legendary theater company is giving fans a chance to own the original costumes that helped bring their characters to life. On April 17, more than 50 costumes worn in RSC productions will hit eBay to raise money for the group's Stitch in Time campaign.

With this new campaign, the RSC aims to raise enough money to renovate the aging workshop where costume designers create all the handmade garments used in their shows. Following a play's run, the costumes are either rented out to other theaters or kept safe in the company's museum collections. Designers often make duplicates of the items, which means that the RSC is able to auction off some of their most valuable pieces to the public.

The eBay costume auction includes clothing worn by some of the most prolific actors to work with the company. Bidders will find Patrick Stewart's beige shorts from the 2006 production of Antony and Cleopatra, David Tennant's white tunic from 2013's Richard II, Ian McKellen's red, floor-length coat from 2007's King Lear, and Judi Dench's black doublet from 2016's Shakespeare Live! Costumes worn by Anita Dobson, Susannah York, and Simon Russell Beale will also be featured.

All proceeds from the auction go to restoring the RSC's costume workshop. Shakespeare fans have until April 27 to place their bids.

Patrick Stewart in Antony and Cleopatra.
Pascal Molliere, (c) RSC

Actors in stage play.
Manuel Harlan, (c) RSC

Actor in stage play.
Kwame Lestrade, (c) RSC
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PRNewsfoto/PolyU
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technology
This 3D Human Modeling App Could Revolutionize Online Clothes Shopping
PRNewsfoto/PolyU
PRNewsfoto/PolyU

A team of academics in Hong Kong have developed a 3D human modeling app that could drastically change the way we shop online. Dubbed 1Measure, this “one-click measure” tool allows users to record their body measurements in a matter of seconds by uploading two full-body photos.

After snapping images with both a front view and side view, the app uses artificial intelligence to create a 3D digital model of the user's body in under 10 seconds. Next to this image, over 50 size measurements are displayed, including everything from knee girth to shoulder slope. This information can be saved and accessed at a later date, and the app also lists your size in other countries, allowing you to shop for clothes around the world with ease.

This revolutionary technology was developed by associate professor Tracy P.Y. Mok and PhD graduate Dr. Zhu Shuaiyin of the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU).

Other current technologies are capable of carrying out similar modeling functions, but the PolyU team says these methods involve costly, bulky scanners, and their results are only approximate. The 1Measure app’s margin of error is 1 centimeter for users photographed in tight-fitting clothes, and 2 centimeters for those in loose-fitting clothes, according to its developers.

The app is particularly useful when it comes to online shopping. Dr. Zhu says the technology “frees us from the limitations imposed by taking body measurements physically, helping customers to select the right size in online clothing purchases.”

The app can also store multiple measurements at once and track any changes that the body undergoes, making it suitable for those with fitness goals.

1Measure is free to download and is currently available on the App Store in both English and Chinese.

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