CLOSE
Original image

7 Hi-Tech Tees

Original image

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!

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
Who Was Chuck Taylor?
Original image
iStock

From Betty Crocker to Tommy Bahama, plenty of popular labels are "named" after fake people. But one product with a bona fide backstory to its moniker is Converse's Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers. The durable gym shoes are beloved by everyone from jocks to hipsters. But who's the man behind the cursive signature on the trademark circular ankle patch?

As journalist Abraham Aamidor recounted in his 2006 book Chuck Taylor, All Star: The True Story of the Man behind the Most Famous Athletic Shoe in History, Chuck Taylor was a former pro basketball player-turned-Converse salesman whose personal brand and tireless salesmanship were instrumental to the shoes' success.

Charles Hollis Taylor was born on July 24, 1901, and raised in southern Indiana. Basketball—the brand-new sport invented by James Naismith in 1891—was beginning to take the Hoosier State by storm. Taylor joined his high school team, the Columbus High School Bull Dogs, and was named captain.

After graduation, instead of heading off to college, Taylor launched his semi-pro career playing basketball with the Columbus Commercials. He’d go on to play for a handful of other teams across the Midwest, including the the Akron Firestone Non-Skids in Ohio, before finally moving to Chicago in 1922 to work as a sales representative for the Converse Rubber Shoe Co. (The company's name was eventually shortened to Converse, Inc.)

Founded in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1908 as a rubber shoe manufacturer, Converse first began producing canvas shoes in 1915, since there wasn't a year-round market for galoshes. They introduced their All-Star canvas sports shoes two years later, in 1917. It’s unclear whether Chuck was initially recruited to also play ball for Converse (by 1926, the brand was sponsoring a traveling team) or if he was simply employed to work in sales. However, we do know that he quickly proved himself to be indispensable to the company.

Taylor listened carefully to customer feedback, and passed on suggestions for shoe improvements—including more padding under the ball of the foot, a different rubber compound in the sole to avoid scuffs, and a patch to protect the ankle—to his regional office. He also relied on his basketball skills to impress prospective clients, hosting free Chuck Taylor basketball clinics around the country to teach high school and college players his signature moves on the court.

In addition to his myriad other job duties, Taylor played for and managed the All-Stars, a traveling team sponsored by Converse to promote their new All Star shoes, and launched and helped publish the Converse Basketball Yearbook, which covered the game of basketball on an annual basis.

After leaving the All-Stars, Taylor continued to publicize his shoe—and own personal brand—by hobnobbing with customers at small-town sporting goods stores and making “special appearances” at local basketball games. There, he’d be included in the starting lineup of a local team during a pivotal game.

Taylor’s star grew so bright that in 1932, Converse added his signature to the ankle patch of the All Star shoes. From that point on, they were known as Chuck Taylor All-Stars. Still, Taylor—who reportedly took shameless advantage of his expense account and earned a good salary—is believed to have never received royalties for the use of his name.

In 1969, Taylor was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The same year, he died from a heart attack on June 23, at the age of 67. Around this time, athletic shoes manufactured by companies like Adidas and Nike began replacing Converse on the court, and soon both Taylor and his namesake kicks were beloved by a different sort of customer.

Still, even though Taylor's star has faded over the decades, fans of his shoe continue to carry on his legacy: Today, Converse sells more than 270,000 pairs of Chuck Taylors a day, 365 days a year, to retro-loving customers who can't get enough of the athlete's looping cursive signature.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Original image
Natasha Zinko
arrow
This Just In
This Jeans-Inside-Your-Jeans Look Will Cost You $695
Original image
Natasha Zinko

Besides a few updates here and there, the classic style of denim blue jeans hasn’t changed much since the late 19th century. Now, a London-based fashion designer wants to disrupt the wardrobe staple. Their revolutionary new idea? A second waistband sewed on top of the first one.

According to Mashable, these high-waisted double jeans from Natasha Zinko are retailing for $695. Wearing the pants makes it look like you forgot you already had jeans on and put on a second pair on top of them. But buying two pairs of designer jeans to wear at once would probably be less expensive than owning this item. The double jeans are actually one garment, with the high-waisted inner pair stopping at the hips. Boasting seven pockets, they’re not entirely impractical, but having to undo two sets of buttons and zippers sounds like more trouble than it’s worth.

Model wearing double jeans.
Natasha Zinko
There is a market for high-end blue jeans disguised as fashion crimes, as Nordstrom proved earlier this year with their $425 pants covered in fake dirt. The Natasha Zinko double jeans have already sold out on shopbop.com.

[h/t Mashable]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios