It’s utterly possible that in a generation or so people won’t need to carry gadgets like smartphones or mp3 players around them, because these things will be integrated into their clothes. Intelligent textiles are still in

the experiment and development phase, and thus are far down the line. But recent innovations show the possibilities that are opening up in this fascinating area, from hoodies that connect to your Facebook page to devices that turn a user’s skin into a UI.

Wearable Absence falls into the former category. The project, by researchers at Concordia University in Montreal and the University of London, turns clothing into an information device that displays text and images as well as play sounds

There’s a good bit of theory behind Wearable Absence, centered on creating the narrative of an absent person.

“The invocation of visual and aural memory files are triggered by a passive process in which the user will not consciously participate but through the use of unobtrusive sensing devices that detect the physical state of the wearer,” according to the project’s website.

While this positions the clothing squarely in the tech/art category, it is one of growing number of examples of the ways we will interface with technology in the future.

In 1982, when the personal computer was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, not many readers would have imagined that in less than thirty years people would be carrying powerful computers in their pockets. It’s not inconceivable to think that thirty years from now we’ll laugh at the fact that we ever carried devices at all.

By Mark Alvarez