There are certain inventions that really don't evolve, and most clothing falls into that category. Sure, styles and fabrics change, but the shirt has been using the same basic design for centuries. A hunk of fabric with holes for your arms and head. It works just fine.
But the world is full of designers and inventors who need to pay the bills, and so they are busy trying to apply the latest technology to items of clothing that really, really don't need it. Here are the awful fruits of their labors.
One of the biggest hassles of modern life is people. They're everywhere! On the bus it's, "Is this seat taken?" On a picnic, "Melissa, will you marry me?" At home: "Mommy, can you tuck me into bed?" Arrrrrgggghhhh! If only you could stab them.
Well actually, you can, thanks to the Defensible Dress, or rather, the Really Pointy Girdle thingy. See, the Defensible Dress is actually a band that is covered in long, pointy rods that fits around the waist and is connected to an infrared sensor fitted underneath normal clothing.
Invented by designer Meejin Yoon and inspired by porcupines, the sensor triggers the rods to stand straight out in all directions whenever it senses someone getting too close to the wearer, thus preventing unwanted encroachment. A mild poking will teach them a lesson!
The Problem Is...
Besides the fact you look like the lamest mutant from the lamest movie ever?
Pictured: Fashion Faux Pas
The dress is completely undiscerning as to who and when it will strike. Your boss reaches in to give you a congratulatory handshake on your promotion- STAB! Grandma gives you a hug- STAB! An impromptu dry humping session- GENITAL STAB! Friendly fire is inevitable. Innocent strangers who happen to walk past you on a crowded street will feel the sharp sting of retribution from your now armed personal bubble.
Imagine it's a bright, sunny day. You're sauntering down Main Street wearing your favorite Ween T-shirt and stop to admire the women's spinning class in the gym across the street. Suddenly the clouds roll in and it begins to pour on your cold, exposed head. Luckily for you, your Ween T-shirt senses the change in weather.
The collar broadens to cover your neck, the sleeves automatically roll down to your wrists and a hood rises up to fit snugly over your head. All the while, you never had to take your hands out of your pockets or your eyes off of the spinning class. Perfect for the voyeur who doesn't care for interruption or wetness.
This radical technology from British designer Hussein Chalayan is achieved by using a collection of cables, rods, motors, microcontrollers and batteries to change the shape of clothing on the fly to whatever style suits your needs. He even created a dress that would leave a woman completely naked by sucking it into her hat (that link is to an NSFW video of that very thing happening).
If you prefer less moving parts in your transforming clothes (and less chance to be horribly electrocuted), designer Marielle Leenders has created shape Memory Textiles that work basically the same way, only using fabric that contracts under heat.
The Problem Is...
You're an incredible lazy ass, that's the problem. What, you can't roll up your own sleeves? What do you want next, pants that wipe your ass? (NOTE: contact Cracked patent department about ass-wiping pants.)
There is also the possibility of a gear or a rod grabbing a hand full of chest hair or pubes while it's turning your jeans into Daisy Dukes. We were going to also say that the "instant nudity" feature could go off at the wrong time, but what's the right time? Who reading this has ever wanted their clothes to instantly vanish into their hat? OK, other than you, Prince.
The moment they invented cheese that comes out of an aerosol can, we predicted a future where everything could be bought in spray-can form. That glorious future has eluded us so far, but they've taken a bold step in the right direct with Spray-on Fabric. Fabrican, as it's called, uses a pressurized formula that, when sprayed from an aerosol can, creates fibers that adhere to any surface and bind to create a piece of non-woven fabric. It can be sprayed onto a luscious, nude 20-something model, for example, to instantly create an entire dress or outfit right onto her body.
Or sprayed onto this man, to create nightmares.
Any style or look can be created; your only limit is your imagination. Then, when the outfit has served its purpose, just peel it off like a couture wetsuit and toss it in the trash, making closets and wardrobes obsolete. For men, this technology is especially useful because those nude 20-something models will need to hire spray boys.
The Problem Is...
So the future is Silly String? No, worse, the future is more like Ron Popeil's spray-on hair, but instead of spraying on your head, you get to spray it on your genitals. We don't want to be crude here, but this appears to be the second miraculous invention on our list with the potential to accidentally rip out wads of pubic hair with each use.
Also, this stuff isn't exactly more convenient than the clothes we own now, which can be applied in seconds. The whole process of getting spray-dressed could take 30 minutes, four cans of spray-on fabric and a partner to help you cover those hard to reach areas ("Hey, Phil, can you spray this stuff in my butthole real quick?"). Is that the point of technology, to take a simple task and make it as difficult, time consuming and uncomfortable as possible?
Oh and did we mention 99.99 percent of the population doesn't look like a nubile 20-something? Haute couture is fine and all, but the true purpose of clothing is to hide our shame. Because spray-on fabric is as skin tight as a coat of paint, every flaw will be exposed to the light of day. Whether it's that fourth ring of fat or horrible appendectomy scar, spray on clothes aren't out to do you any favors.
Scentimental Space is a unique line of clothing designed by Jenny Tillotson, who possesses a Ph.D. in Printed Textiles, which sounds about as legit as a Ph.D. in cookies.
Still, incorporating aroma therapy into everyday clothing has apparently been her life's work. Her Scentimental Space series of inventions utilize "senso-cells" via a "scentreface" which, based on the wearer's changes in mood, become "scentimental" and release various types of smells, or "scentsations," to restore balance and health to the wearer. It seems Jenny not only has a Ph.D. in Printed Textiles but holds a Ph.D. in the field of Annoying Aroma Puns, which is a good way to get punched in the "scent"er of your face (get it?!).
So far, the smelly clothes line includes the "less stress dress," which is specifically designed to emit odors that slow blood pressure and reduce fear levels. There's the "scent to sleep slip" that dispenses lavender to help insomniacs. Other fashions are designed to treat various mental afflictions such as depression and bipolar disorder all via the power of smell.
Wait, why are people throwing away all their cash on medication and years of intensive therapy? Some scented oils will take care of all of that shit!
The Problem Is...
Besides the fact Tillotson's overabundance of ridiculous puns make her sound like an aroma-obsessed Batman villain, there's the fatal flaw that comes with any scent-based product: you're not the only one who can smell it. While you're ejecting pungent clouds of lilac to supposedly reduce your anxiety, you're significantly raising the stress levels of everyone within a six-cubicle radius.
Imagine the last time some old woman or Russian mafioso stepped into an elevator with you, slapping you in the face with their overpowering perfume or musk. Now imagine if the entire world smelled like old women and Russian mobsters. Well, that's the world Scentimental Space promises. What's worse, once smelly clothes go mainstream the spectrum of aromas offered would expand to suit every taste. It's gonna be pretty hard to whiff your calming lilac with the guy in the fried bacon suit standing next to you.
By wearing clothes that release certain scents based on your mood, you're also telegraphing to the world what you're thinking. Say your dress releases vanilla to calm your homicidal rage. Kind of awkward on a date. "Hey, do I smell baking cookies or are you gonna straight up murder my ass?"
Philips is the electronics super company that unleashed the CD-I, and thus Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, onto an unsuspecting world. They charged you $700 to play the most soul crushingly awful video game in history and called it "the future." Clearly these people know what they're doing. Why not trust them with the very materials that grace our delicate bits?
Philips' newest claim to revolutionize the future is lumalive textiles. These unique fabrics marry dynamic LED and software technology with clothing to create bright, eye-catching, and completely customizable messages and designs right on our shirts and pants.
The major achievement in this technology is Philips stuffed a bunch of lights, wires, circuit boards and batteries into fabric while maintaining the softness and flexibility of regular fabric. Thank God technology companies are forwarding mankind with light-up clothes and not wasting time and money on bullshit like a limitless, sustainable power source or a gun that shoots orgasms.
The Problem Is...
These LED clothes reek of a vision of the future conceived in the 80s. Where's the application outside of an ecstasy-fueled night at the rave? The only acceptable place to wear flashing, eye-straining fashion like this is in a club. Hey, go ahead and try to wear your new blinky clothes at the movie theater or bank. We're sure your scrotum has been begging to provide its services as a speed bag.
"Down in front!"
Then there's lumalive's capability for displaying text. Yes, think of all the inane chatter that floods your Facebook page and text message inbox. Now imagine all that crap leaping into the real world, transforming every person into a flashing human billboard. Thanks, Philips, for giving us a future that makes Blade Runner look like a sappy, hopelessly optimistic fantasyland.
Do you have something funny to say about a random topic? You could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow. Go here and find out how to create a Topic Page.
For more insight into the future, check out 6 Insane Laws We'll Need in the Future and The 8 Most Common Sci-Fi Visions of the Future (And Why They'll Never Happen).
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 12.08.2009) to see Brockway trying out the spray-on clothing.