Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Latest Fashion: The High-Tech Look

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Latest Fashion: The High-Tech Look

Article excerpt

My sister-in-law recently told me about someone who walks into her office every day dressed in a long black trench coat, sunglasses (regardless of the weather), and a huge Bluetooth earpiece for his mobile phone.

"I think it's just part of the whole 'Matrix' look he was aiming for," she says. "It was just jewelry."

Wearing technology as jewelry is not exactly new. Isn't a watch a form of technology? The availability of new technologies like Bluetooth, however, has led some companies to look for new ways to entice consumers - particularly young, tech-savvy ones - into buying their products.

But before venturing into the land of "bling," let's take a quick look at the technology in question: Bluetooth.

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, indicates Bluetooth is named after 10th-century Danish King Harald Blatand. King "Bluetooth" was a peacemaker and encouraged warring parties to talk to each other. The device's creators believed this was a great description of what Bluetooth does - allowing completely different technologies to "talk" to each other.

Bluetooth is a wireless technology for a "personal area network"; it only works over a small area - your "personal area." Bluetooth works great for PDAs, cellphones, printers, etc. It also can be used with certain toys. I have a Bluetooth wireless mouse that I use with my laptop. I plan to get a wireless game controller for my kids' PlayStation 2 because I'm tired of tripping on wires in front of my TV.

The key concept to grasp here, and the connection to fashion, is the wireless part. Bluetooth turns technology users into Pinocchios without strings. No longer will they become tangled in the wires connecting their cellphones and earpieces.

For people who care about how they look, there's an added coolness factor. Wires were never fashionable. Bluetooth liberates them from looking like geeks.

A recent survey by cable television's Oxygen Network shows that there may be another reason to make technology more attractive. It found that "three of four women would prefer a new plasma television to a diamond necklace," and that the gender gap on technology has closed. Women now own 6.6 tech devices, compared with 6. …

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