Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Smarty Pants: Exceptional Parents Have Always Worn "Exceptional Clothes" and Have Created an Awareness, a Movement and a Culture That Will Surely Outlast Any Battery-Operated "Smart Device."

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Smarty Pants: Exceptional Parents Have Always Worn "Exceptional Clothes" and Have Created an Awareness, a Movement and a Culture That Will Surely Outlast Any Battery-Operated "Smart Device."

Article excerpt

It seems like we are surrounded, seduced and immersed with "smart" things. These days, there are "smart phones," "smart cars," "smart watches," "smart homes," "smart environments," and even "smart clothes"! Obviously, all of these devices were imagined, designed and built by smart people.

Of course you have to be pretty "smart" to even understand what these "smart" things do. How is this definition of "smart devices" to challenge the "smart" in you?

"A smart device is an electronic device, generally connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi, 3G, etc., that can operate to some extent interactively and autonomously. Smart devices can be designed to support a variety of form factors, a range of properties pertaining to ubiquitous computing and to be used in three main system environments: physical world, human-centered environments and distributed computing environments."

Like I said, one needs to be "smart" to understand "smart."

When I was growing up and going to public school in Brooklyn we had a name for the kid who seemed to know everything: "Smarty-pants." The Urban Dictionary nails the definition of smarty pants as " a person who knows the word 'lul-a-bye' comes from the Saxon words, 'lut,' meaning 'to sing' and 'bye' meaning 'to sleep,' and then brags about it in the weekly email newsletter."

Another popular term for a "know-it-all" was "smart aleck." The origin of the term could be the basis for a popular documentary or TV series. According to G.L. Cohen, author of Studies in Slang Part 1 (1985), the phrase smart alec(k) arose from the exploits of one Alec Hoag. A celebrated pimp, thief, and confidence man operating out of New York City in the 1840s, Mr. Hoag, along with his wife Melinda and an accomplice known as "French Jack", operated a con called the "panel game," a method by which prostitutes and their pimps robbed foolish customers.

"The panel game consisted of sliding walls that would enable Mr. Hoag to sneak in whilst the mark was sleeping and steal valuables. Before Mr. Hoag, a prostitute's accomplices would wait until the mark was asleep, then burst into the room. But the marks got wise and would block the door with a table or chair propped up under the doorknob, thinking they would then be safe from intruders. 'Smart' Alec Hoag, because he never woke the victim, would be on the other side of town before the rube even knew what had happened." While that was a long explanation, it now enables you to work in into a conversation where everyone will begin to refer to you as a "smart aleck."

The idea of "smart clothes" in modern times can be traced back to 1966 where a MIT researcher wrote "clothing can enhance our capabilities without requiring any conscious efforts. These capabilities can range from sensing to providing stimuli, to visual effects." One could argue that the earliest example of "smart clothing" was the armor worn by knights and gladiators. It was certainly "smart" to don an outfit that would protect you against an enemy's "spetums, bardiches and halberds" (that was an example of my being a "smart ass.")

The latest entry into the "smart clothes" arena is a new jacket introduced by Levi's in collaboration with Google's Project Jacquard. They have designed conductive fibers that are "woven directly into clothing so that motions you make on the left cuff of the jacket's sleeve register as touch inputs, as if it were a screen. Those are then sent to your smartphone via a Bluetooth attachment that clips on as a cufflink."

Arrow has developed a dress shirt with an inbuilt chip on the cuff that can be programmed by downloading an app that sends a copy of their business card or send their LinkedIn profile to an acquaintance during business meetings by tapping their phone on the cuff.

A recent marketing report predicts consumers will be buying more than 10 million pieces of "smart clothes" by 2020. …

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