Embedded electronic fashion that rocks

October 01, 2008

Embedded electronic fashion that rocks

Using Sunload backpacks, outdoor enthusiasts can charge their notebooks, mini TVs, and badira jacket MP3 players while hiking during the day and enjoy...

Last September, badira unveiled the world's first multimedia jacket with an integrated TV set. In addition to receiving Digital Multimedia Broadcast (DMB), Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB), and traditional analog FM radio, the coat can play video and music from an MP3/4 player and other devices.

Figure 1



This multimedia device is equipped with up to 4 GB of internal storage, a miniSD slot, and a USB connection. Batteries that reportedly last for 22-27 hours of continuous music or 5-6 hours of TV playback allow badira jacket wearers to listen to their favorite bands and watch their favorite sports teams while hiking in the wilderness.

Music playback on the badira jacket can be set to rock, jazz, classic, pop, movie, church, and other audio settings. Ensonido technology from Fraunhofer IIS (see this column in the May and August 2007 issues of Embedded Computing Design) enables surround sound on traditional stereo earphones. This audio technology simulates natural hearing patterns, producing virtual sound from six speakers, including reflections from the floor, ceiling, and walls.

Compensation for head movements makes it seem as though the sounds are coming from the same direction, like listening to a singer on a virtual stage.

Sunload offers a variety of trendy bags, briefcases, and even a laptop rucksack with solar cells integrated on the stylish cover flaps (see Figure 2). Different power connectors allow users to charge several devices at the same time. Using Sunload backpacks, outdoor enthusiasts can charge their notebooks, mini TVs, and badira jacket MP3 players while hiking during the day and enjoy TV and concert-grade music at night by the campfire. There's no need to carry extra batteries on the trip.

Figure 2



These solar-powered bags won the smartTextiles 2008 Product of the Year Award. The badira jacket also qualified for the competition, which was presented at the smartTextiles section at CeBIT 2008 in Hannover, Germany. Both companies' products were also displayed at IFA, the world's largest consumer electronics trade show held in Berlin.

Gamers convene in Germany

This August in Leipzig, 3,800 journalists from 48 countries covered the Games Convention (GC), which attracted 10 percent more visitors (203,000 total) and 16 percent more business users than last year. In addition to GC Asia scheduled for September, GC North America is planned for next year. GC is now the world's largest games event, as its attendance surpassed the most recent Tokyo Game Show. Embedded systems designers throughout the world show up at GC to see how embedded products are used in games and other consumer devices.

The GC Developers Conference, which overlaps with GC, is only open to developers from the games community. Visitors from 40 different countries totaling more than 35 percent over last year's attendance presented their new games and plans for the coming season.


Hermann Strass (European Analyst)