Can interactive clothing reduce cell-phone or iPod robberies?

cell_phone_in_metro.jpgMore straphangers are getting robbed‘ is the headline of a recent article in the Metro, a free daily newspaper many of our readers in NY, Boston and Philadelphia will read while riding the train.

‘Straphanger’, according Wikipedia, is a nickname for a standing subway or bus passenger who grips a hanging strap or an overhead horizontal bar for support.

The other, free hand is used to make phone calls or operate an iPod for example. This ‘real life’ situation is used from certain elements in our society to snatches those devices straight of of the hands from fellow passengers and run off.

As the article states: ‘Last year we averaged about two robberies a day in the system, and for the last quarter of ’08 it jumped to about three a day,” said James Hall, chief of the NYPD’s transit bureau. “It’s certainly being fueled by the theft of cellular phones.’

How does wearable electronic fit into this picture? Quite obviously I would say. As our regular readers will very well know, integrating the interface of cell-phones our many other personal devices into clothing or bags not only gives additional protection to our devices against harsh environmental conditions by leaving them safely inside a pocket while still operating the main functions, it also makes it far more difficult to have such devices snatched from the hands while using it.

Where a bag may be still get ripped of off the shoulders although with much more effort as from a hand, getting undressed in a crowded Metro train is almost impossible considering the little space during rush hours.

As the new generation of ‘all-in-one’ cell-phones get more expensive and the amount as well as sensitivity of data stored on them grows steadily it might be advisable to make a risk assessment and check out the interactive fashion scene what preventive, cool looking options are available.

Sure, I want to make a point for wearable electronic here but this real life example does shed a new light on the question: why do I need clothing with control buttons?

Only a few years ago we used simple, relatively cheap devices and although having it stolen is never a pleasant experience, the loss has not been as huge as it is today, monetary and sensitive information wise.

Interactive clothing is a new segment, not fully explored yet but more than capable to address new lifestyle issues that haven’t been around before and that traditional clothing can not solve.

It’s time that clothing follows the change in (digital) lifestyle or else our tools are 21 Century but our clothing stays 20th Century.

I leave the answer to our headline question to you our dear reader, any thought from you in the comments is highly appreciated.

Thanks to our friend J. for sending us this pointer to a real life scenario.

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