Thoughts on LED clothing applications

The LEDs developed by Osram employ thin-film technology, making them less than 1 centimeter tall. I think there are very few instances where you can cluster LEDs and make it look presentable and this piece obviously isn't a success. Light bulbs and flashlights are fine, you hardly look directly at the light source. The same applies to the Audi R8 though the look may bother some individuals when the headlights are off. So while the idea of integrating lights into ski clothing is great for foggy days and twilight riding I'm unsure of the execution; as much as Osram wants it to be about technology, fashion still comes first in clothing.

The issue probably stems from the early applications of LEDs when they were used one at a time in media equipment to signal a power state or to illuminate a small screen. Since then, I expect LEDs to be used individually in light-emitting applications which is the case for most of the jacket. The only instance where it makes sense to bunch them up on the jacket is on the front of the hood assuming that large cluster of LEDs is for illumination purposes in addition to light-emission.

So what should be used for the rest of the jacket and pants? LED tubes / strips similar to this. Osram needs to figure out how to diffuse the light into an even glow in such a flat application. It should be a natural progression from reflective tape to light-emitting tape. This adidas shirt shouldn't have a bunch of individual LEDs dotting it in the future, the design should remain the same, the reflective area should just become light-emitting. After all what fashion forward individual would want to wear around a Lite-Brite screen?

Returning to the illumination aspects of the jacket for a moment, wouldn't it be great to have pop-up lights mounted on the shoulders? Harking back to the 80s when most cars had pop-up headlights, it would be a borrowed method to hide unsightly LED clusters when they aren't in use. It could just be a piece of fabric that you pull back snapping or velcroing it in place. Better yet, how about developing illuminating lights in the palm of the glove! Instances where you need something along the lines of high-beams, you could just raise up your palm and point towards the dark area. I'm obviously referring to the laser-guided particle beam emission units mounted in the palm of Ironman's gloves, no need to call me out.

I hope by 2036, we will be much further along than the ski jacket and pants presented here. But you know what? I'd still rock that piece right now even with the tight pants. Hook it up!