Airbus may soon be outfitting its workers with clothes that come with USB ports, and wif-fi and Bluetooth connectivity, a wrist camera and a bone phone, that sends audible messages directly into the skull in noisy workplaces where a normal conversion might be at risk of being misheard.
Its Innovations Cell has been working with a French industrial clothing organisation to develop a “smart” outfit for the cadre of quality inspectors on the A330 final assembly line in Toulouse and will be asking a workplace committee for final approval to go ahead with the line at a meeting in September.
There are some more details here. But ask yourself this, just how many hundreds of millions ‘osteophones’, an extension of hearing aid technology into work wear, might Airbus license for regular commuters who often can’t hear half of what someone is saying on their mobile phones because of background noise?
And then ask, would you rather a wrist camera, held up to eye level to take a photo, than the camera contained in Google Glasses? The convergence of information technology applications with computer ware, that can be folded or worn, and used by means of swipe gesture on a glasses frame, or where cuff links used to be, could be an even larger market than seen now for portable music players or all in one hand held devices or tablets.
We mightn’t get accessories by Airbus, or Boeing, but we could be getting a revolution in industrial clothing, and yet another reason to be wary about the batteries they will use.