Wearables aren't just geeky fantasies, they are serious business, and there are several commercial projects already up and running. Nike has started a tech lab aiming to integrate digital equipment like MP3 players into sports clothes.
Philips’ and Levi Strauss’ ICD+ jackets are equipped with a personal area network, or PAN: an electronic circuit woven into the jacket that serves as the backbone for various devices. Several devices can be clipped on to a PAN, and they can be centrally controlled by a remote control with a small display that alerts users to every incoming phone call, e-mail, or the title of a song playing on an MP3 player.
British Telecom is working with the military forces of several countries to develop clothes which can change their thickness and therefore thermal properties according to the outside temperature. Another design splashes medicines onto a wound when a soldier is hit by a bullet. They are also seeing the use of optical fiber woven into the clothes. When a soldier is injured, the fibers are broken and information about the wound location can be relayed to field medics, who can use the information to prioritize casualties.
Millions of micro-capsules can also be built into clothing and allow camouflage to adapt dynamically to the surroundings, changing the colors and patterns of the clothes.
Communications between the various devices could use fibers built into clothes, with their data coverage increased to as much as 35 feet using the new Bluetooth technologies. Another technique uses the body itself to transmit signals at surprisingly high data rates.