Is That an MP3 Player in Your Pants ...?
Digital technology isn't just reserved for living room gadgets and computers. Your traditional folk costume can also be wired up -- like the new lederhosen with built-in MP3 player premiered at this year's CeBIT trade fair.
There's nothing quite like sitting in a Munich beer garden on a sunny summer day sipping on a fresh liter of Helles. The locals in their lederhosen at the next table complete the image of traditional rusticality. At least until their lederhosen start ringing.
That's right. One of the parting shots at the mega-tech convention CeBit in Hanover -- which ended on Wednesday -- was the presentation of traditional Bavarian leather pants with a built-in MP3 player, complete with cell phone reception. Instead of the traditional deer-antler buttons down the side, the digital lederhosen comes equipped with five buttons to control the mobile music maker. Digital traditionalists can also outfit themselves with a classic Bavarian jacket with MP3 control in the arm.
High-tech Bavarian folk costumes, though, aren't that much of a stretch. Munich for years has been advertising itself as the home of both tradition and progress -- Bavaria's motto is "Laptop and Lederhosen" -- and some beer gardens even offer wireless Internet connections.
The most recent lederhosen innovation comes as a result of a new brand, Tectile, which belongs to the traditional clothing manufacturer Lodenfrey. Other products in the collection include a GPS jacket and jackets with fully integrated anti-insect capabilities.
Not to be outdone, a number of other textile companies were also present at CeBIT this year, where a full 250 square meters were reserved for so-called "smart textiles." Other innovative products included a cell-phone pouch that allegedly blocks "99.9999 percent" of radiation, and a spray intended to protect your skin from electromagnetic waves.