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fosOnce a technology gets its own slang, it has officially arrived. And so it is with “geek chic.” The upcoming New York City Fashion Week, capped by the Brand Innovators Fashion Brand Summit, will have its share of wearable technology. This intersection of technology and fashion is being led by Google Glass in terms of hype, but in terms of branding and product availability some new players are innovating in terms of usability and marketing.

One of them is Erogear. It has carved out a niche in what it calls “large-format wearable display technology.” Today it announced a new product line named “Fos.” They are actually fabric Velcro patches containing a high-brightness LED grid and Bluetooth for wireless display of 16-bit graphics, text and animations from any Bluetooth Classic or Low Energy device. Fos averages less than 2mm thick, weighs 32 grams and is flexible as typical fabric.

“Wearable electronics have long been an interest in the apparel industry, and Fos is the first comprehensive solution to the issues of capability, wearability and cost,” said Anders Nelson, Principal of Erogear. “We took what we learned from previous designs and applied new techniques to ensure the lowest profile and a beautiful, easy-to-use product. New technology has made it possible for us to apply true video streams to the body, enhancing safety in urban spaces, beauty in design spaces and more.”

It will appeal more at first to the high-end athletic set. LEDs will make runners and cyclists more visible. It also makes the human body a digital marketing tool. Fos can be programmed to display GPS-guided turn signals, athletic statistics and other imagery on-demand and in real-time. Cycling visibility is increased as Fos displays animated content unique to the user, while music-lovers can share sound-reactive designs with one another. Promoters can engage local and remote participants via social network messaging.

The Fos line can be tiled both horizontally and vertically, providing a scalable solution for visibility and event participation. The devices are encased in fabric for easy application to and removal from garments and shoulder bags. A thin hidden wire protrudes from the rear and connects to a diminutive Lithium-Ion battery pack. Erogear has provided an API with companion app for Android-based tablets and mobile phones, with iOS and desktop support to follow. The API provides a simple means for app developers to connect and send their imagery to Fos devices at up to 60 frames-per-second, an industry first.

Fos has a Kickstarter campaign to fund it. A single-height unit with 32×8 pixel grid is priced at $149, a double-height unit with 32×16 grid is priced at $299, and a bespoke leather belt with 96×8 grid is available for $599. The again, the ROI on that space has not yet been calculated.

 

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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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