7 Cool Bluetooth DIY Projects That’ll Upgrade Your Old Gadgets

With a little bit of DIY elbow grease, you can turn a boring leftover device into something magical with Bluetooth connectivity.

Read the full article: 7 Cool Bluetooth DIY Projects That’ll Upgrade Your Old Gadgets

Bluetooth is among the most widely accepted ways for two devices to communicate with each other. Every phone, tablet, and laptop comes with Bluetooth built in, as do several peripherals. So with a little do-it-yourself (DIY) tinkering, you can do some wonderful things with this technology.

For any project in this list, you will need to know the basics of DIY electronics and have the necessary tools at hand. Some projects require specialized tools, as noted. And of course, always remember to take all the necessary safety precautions before you begin.

1. Connect an Arduino to Arduino via Bluetooth

The basic project you need to master is setting up Bluetooth on an Arduino microcontroller, and making it talk to another Arduino board wirelessly. Martyn Curry has an excellent step-by-step guide for this, connecting two Arduino boards as master and slave.

Naturally, you’ll need two Arduino boards and two Bluetooth receiver modules for this. To begin, start with his basic tutorial where he teaches you how to remote control an LED light on the slave Arduino via the master Arduino.

Then move on to the more advanced project, where the slave gauges the temperature outside and sends the signal to the master inside, which in turn displays the reading on a screen.

Learning the basics of setting up Bluetooth on two Arduino devices will open up a slew of possibilities for you, from beginner Arduino projects to outright weird Arduino projects.

2. Wireless Notice Board for Phone Messages

This might be the easiest and most useful project to start with. With an Arduino board, a few wires, and an LCD screen, you can type text on your phone and display it on the screen. Just like that, you’ll have a wireless notice board.

This project requires no soldering or any advanced skills, you will only be connecting cables to parts. Even the code for the Arduino board is ready to download, and there’s a handy Android app you can grab from the Play Store. The whole thing should take no more than half an hour, and is the ideal way to get started on DIY electronics projects.

3. Add Bluetooth to Old Wired Headphones

add bluetooth to old wired headphones

If you have a pair of old wired headphones that have broken, don’t throw them out. This cool DIY tutorial shows you how to turn them into wireless headphones by adding a Bluetooth, while also giving you a new plug to connect a standard 3.5mm cable.

You’ll need a mini Bluetooth receiver, adapters for a DC jack and a 2.5mm to 3.5mm jack, and that pair of old headphones. You’ll also need a soldering iron and a multimeter, both of which you can find at any hackerspace.

In the project, you will be taking apart the headphones and the receiver, and then soldering them together. Then you fit everything into the speaker, make a hole for the 3.5mm jack and the charging cable.

The whole thing won’t cost you more than $10, which is cheaper than even the best budget Bluetooth headphones we can recommend.

4. Add Bluetooth to Any Car Stereo

Most car stereos today come with Bluetooth, but if you have an older car, you’ll need to figure out other ways to play music from your phone to the car stereo. Generally, a simple Bluetooth FM transmitter can get the job done. But that means you get an extra device in the car, instead of an invisible Bluetooth car stereo. For the DIY enthusiast, there’s a better way.

The stereo in your car actually has enough space in it to add a Bluetooth module. It costs about $10 on eBay. All you need to do is pry open the stereo, hook up the module, and do a bit of soldering.

A few people who tried this also said they managed without soldering, but it would depend on your car stereo model. And well, nothing against the original uploader, but you might want to read our guide to soldering before you try and copy him.

5. Smart Bluetooth Helmet

add bluetooth headphones to helmet

Unlike a car, there is no stereo for your two-wheeler. But hey, Patrick Panikulam has figured out a way to upgrade a motorcycle helmet by adding Bluetooth speakers inside it.

You’ll need old headphones and a Bluetooth receiver module to take apart, a 3.5mm audio male pin, and some thin flat wires. And of course, a full-face helmet. It’s actually a pretty easy hack to put together, with minimal soldering and some make-do adjustments like sticking the speakers with double-sided tape.

But while this adds some much-needed features, remember, safety first. Don’t text and drive, don’t turn up the volume such that you can’t hear others, and generally do everything you can to keep your attention on the road.

6. Arduino Bluetooth RC Car

Who doesn’t love a good remote controlled toy? Instead of going to the store to buy one, you can actually make your own RC car with an Arduino board and Bluetooth.

For this project, you’ll need a custom PCB designed by the maker. You can order it directly from EasyEDA or download the bill of materials and schematics to make your own. It’s probably wiser to order it.

Along with that, you’ll need an old RC car’s chassis as well as the cheap Arduino Nano, and other odds and ends like the Bluetooth module. This project requires some soldering too, so be ready for that. Once you’re done, install the Android app on your phone and start zooming around everywhere with your remote controlled Bluetooth car.

7. Bluetooth Padlock

Bluetooth padlock unlocks with phone

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could open a lock with your phone? The Bluetooth padlock is awesome, but it is also the most advanced project in this list. It requires some special equipment like a milling machine, a 3D printer, a laser cutter, and other things that you will find in your school or a local hackerspace.

Don’t be intimidated though. The maker, Kirand1, has written a clear set of instructions that take you through the steps of creating a housing, the shackle and locking pin, the faceplace, and then inserting the electronics (based on an Arduino board).

The final version will let you lock and unlock the padlock with the tap of a button on an app. It even works on a smartwatch.

Beware of Bluetooth Flaws and Security Risks

As convenient as Bluetooth technology is, it has a few flaws that you need to know about. In fact, the open and common nature of the wireless standard makes it a routine target for miscreants. If you’re doing any of these Bluetooth DIY projects, please read about Bluetooth’s security risks.

Read the full article: 7 Cool Bluetooth DIY Projects That’ll Upgrade Your Old Gadgets

How to Add Bluetooth to a Computer: 3 Great Bluetooth Adapters for PC

Computers and laptops come with built-in Bluetooth. But what if yours doesn’t? Set up your PC with a Bluetooth dongle.

Read the full article: How to Add Bluetooth to a Computer: 3 Great Bluetooth Adapters for PC

Increasingly, computers and laptops come with built-in Bluetooth. But what if yours doesn’t? The sensible solution is to use a Bluetooth dongle, but once you’ve bought one, how do you set it up? Here’s everything you need to know about setting up Bluetooth on Windows 10.

Why Do You Need a Bluetooth Dongle?

If you need to connect a Bluetooth device to your computer (perhaps a game controller, or an earphone/mic combination headset), then there’s a chance that you’ll need a USB Bluetooth dongle to make the connection.

However, it is worth first checking if your computer has Bluetooth built in. If you cannot find the documentation to check, you have several options:

  • Drag your mouse to the system tray and look for an item labeled “Bluetooth radio”.
  • Click Start > Settings (or Windows key + I) and use the search box to enter “Bluetooth”. Select Bluetooth and other devices settings. If you have Bluetooth, this screen will be present, and you’ll be able to enable the Bluetooth radio to scan for devices.
  • A quicker option is to open the Action Center (which you can often use instead of Settings) then Expand; if Bluetooth hardware is present on your computer, it will be listed here.

These are the main ways to check for and enable Bluetooth, but there are other options also:

Check Device Manager for Bluetooth hardware

  • The Device Manager: press Windows key + R and enter msc to open the Device Manager. If your PC has a built-in Bluetooth radio, you’ll find it listed here, under Bluetooth.
  • Your PC or laptop body: some devices have a physical switch to toggle connectivity, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This may be a small on/off switch, or it may be a keyboard shortcut, typically accessed via the function keys.

Once Bluetooth is enabled, you’ll be ready to begin hooking up compatible hardware.

How to Add Bluetooth to Your PC or Laptop

What if your device doesn’t have Bluetooth hardware?

The only solution is to add it, which is fortunately very easy. All you need is a Bluetooth dongle, an adapter that connects via USB. Once installed and active, the dongle will enable you to connect any Bluetooth device to your computer.

As long as the Bluetooth dongle ships with drivers or they’re available via Windows Update, you’ll soon be able to sync devices via Bluetooth. Note that you may need to reboot your computer.

Once Bluetooth hardware is added, you’ll be able to use the shortcuts above to toggle the visibility of your device.

Looking for a USB Bluetooth Adapter? Try These!

If you’re looking for a USB Bluetooth Adapter, you’ll be pleased to know that they’re both cheap, and compact. Long gone are the days of two-inch long USB Bluetooth radios with little pop-up adapters. These days, they’re the same size as the very smallest USB flash memory sticks. As long as you keep it connected most of the time, you’re unlikely to lose your USB Bluetooth dongle.

But which one should you choose?

1. Zexmte USB Bluetooth Adapter

This low-budget option from Amazon is great as an introduction to Bluetooth. Using the latest Bluetooth 4.0 LE specification, it is compatible with Windows XP and later.

Zexmte USB Bluetooth Adapter for PC Desktop Wireless Dongle Adapter Compatible with Windows 10 8.1 8 7 Vista XP Zexmte USB Bluetooth Adapter for PC Desktop Wireless Dongle Adapter Compatible with Windows 10 8.1 8 7 Vista XP Buy Now At Amazon $9.97

2. ASUS USB Adapter

A slightly more expensive option from ASUS, the ASUS USB Adapter is compatible with Windows XP and later and again uses the Bluetooth 4.0 LE specification. It has a range of 10 meters (uninterrupted space) and can transfer up to 3Mbps of data, and you’ll also find it on Amazon.

ASUS USB Adapter w/Bluetooth Dongle Receiver Transfer Wireless for Laptop PC Support Windows 10 Plug and Play /8/7/XP, Printers, Phones, Headsets, Speakers, Keyboards, Controllers (USB-BT400) ASUS USB Adapter w/Bluetooth Dongle Receiver Transfer Wireless for Laptop PC Support Windows 10 Plug and Play /8/7/XP, Printers, Phones, Headsets, Speakers, Keyboards, Controllers (USB-BT400) Buy Now At Amazon $12.99

3. Avantree Long Range USB Bluetooth Dongle

If you’re looking for something with a longer range (perhaps for gaming), Amazon also stock this Avantree device—compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch—includes low latency technology and can be used over a distance of 20 meters.

Avantree Leaf Long Range USB Bluetooth Audio Transmitter Adapter for PC Laptop Mac PS4 Nintendo Switch, Wireless Audio Dongle for Headphones Speakers Only, Plug and Play, aptX Low Latency Avantree Leaf Long Range USB Bluetooth Audio Transmitter Adapter for PC Laptop Mac PS4 Nintendo Switch, Wireless Audio Dongle for Headphones Speakers Only, Plug and Play, aptX Low Latency Buy Now At Amazon $29.99

Really, the one you choose depends on your budget, and whether you have an Amazon Prime subscription. All of these devices will add Bluetooth to your PC, so it’s really down to you to pick the one you have the most confidence in based on price and reviews.

Oh, and don’t forget: Some Bluetooth devices ship with their own USB Bluetooth adapter, so you may not even need to buy one. As always, check the packaging for details.

How to Connect Bluetooth Headphones to Your PC

With Bluetooth ready to use, it’s time to add a device. Many different types of Bluetooth hardware are available, such as:

  • Headphones
  • Microphones
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Speakers
  • Game controllers

It’s also possible to sync mobile devices via Bluetooth in some cases. Whatever the case, however, to get started you will need to be able to connect the device to your computer in order to start using it.

Bluetooth settings on Windows 10

The process is generally the same regardless of what you’re connecting, but we’re going to take a look at how to connect a typical Bluetooth headset (choose one of these awesome Bluetooth headsets) to your PC.

Begin by finding the Bluetooth button on your headset. This might be on one of the earpieces, or it could be on the wire. Once you’ve found this, don’t activate the device just yet; instead, ensure that Bluetooth is enabled on Windows, as described in the section above.

If Bluetooth is set to On, your computer is discoverable. You should use the Add Bluetooth or other device button to proceed, and hold the Bluetooth button on the headset (activating according to that device’s instructions).

A few moments later, the headset should have been detected, so select, and wait for it to be connected. Soon, you’ll be able to listen to audio on your computer. The simplest way to check this is to play an MP3, or head to Spotify or even YouTube to play media. If you can hear it through the headset, then the Bluetooth connection has been established.

Note that in the Bluetooth settings screen there is a checkbox labeled Show notifications to connect using Swift Pair. If your Bluetooth devices support this, you should be able to quickly connect to them if they’re nearby. Simply check the box, and use the notification (when it appears) to enable the connection.

You’ve Successfully Added Bluetooth to Your PC!

As long as your computer has the necessary Bluetooth radio hardware built in or connected, it should be simple to enable it and sync a Bluetooth device.

After all, all you needed to do was find out if Bluetooth was available, add it if not, and then enable it in settings. Hooking up a headset should have been straightforward, and other devices will be just as simple to connect.

We also recommend reading up on these Bluetooth myths you can safely ignore. For example, modern versions of Bluetooth no longer kill battery!

Read the full article: How to Add Bluetooth to a Computer: 3 Great Bluetooth Adapters for PC

Samsung unveils Note 9: 4,000mAh battery, 6.4″ screen, S Pen with Bluetooth control, more

The rumors were right: the new Note doesn’t look too dissimilar from its predecessor. It brings a stronger battery, incremental camera improvements, more storage, a Bluetooth-enabled stylus and other perks.

Samsung Electronics today at the Unpacked 2018 press event announced a next-generation Galaxy Note 9 phablet alongside new smartwatch models. The new Note has a 6.4-inch 2960×1400 Super AMOLED-based Infinity Display, an all-day 4,000mAh battery, faster internals, more storage and an upgraded S Pen stylus with Bluetooth LE support for things like triggering photos, controlling slideshows and media playback and so forth.... Read the rest of this post here


"Samsung unveils Note 9: 4,000mAh battery, 6.4″ screen, S Pen with Bluetooth control, more" is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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Samsung upgrades the S-Pen to function as a remote

Samsung’s new S-Pen isn’t just a multi-colored stylus anymore. With the upgrade to the new Samsung Galaxy Note 9, the S-Pen gets its own reboot, and now functions as remote control for Samsung’s latest offering. With the inclusion of Bluetooth low energy inside the S-Pen, users can now untether themselves from the phone. With a […]

Samsung’s new S-Pen isn’t just a multi-colored stylus anymore.

With the upgrade to the new Samsung Galaxy Note 9, the S-Pen gets its own reboot, and now functions as remote control for Samsung’s latest offering.

With the inclusion of Bluetooth low energy inside the S-Pen, users can now untether themselves from the phone. With a click of the pen, folks can take pictures, advance slideshows or pause and play music.

The stylus includes a super capacitor to charge when its not being used in the slot. The company thinks the stylus should get 30 minutes of standby time with 40 seconds of charging.

Aesthetically, things are changing with the S-Pen now as well. There’re some new colors on offer with neon-yellow and purple styluses on offer, that write on off-screen memos in the color that matches their design.

Developers can also incorporate the BLE functionality into their apps later this year, the company said.

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Back-to-college tech for minimalists and the over-prepared

Heading back to college with the best gear is the only push that some students need to get things moving in the right direction.

Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch may earn affiliate commissions.

Heading back to college with the best gear is the only push that some students need to get things moving in the right direction. While students are expected to take lecture notes during class, power through study sessions and, if necessary, do assignments on the go, there are tech essentials better suited than others for getting these jobs done.

Whether it’s time for a new laptop and protective gear or a few new accessories, we’ve got the recommendations covered.

Chromebook: Chromebook Flip C302CA

A Chromebook is a great choice for a simple notebook with a cloud-based storage system, and we think the Chromebook Flip C302CA is the best option. You’ll work predominantly in a browser and across apps — and whichever way is most comfortable, as the Chromebook Flip C302CA’s 360-degree hinge allows it to be used as a laptop or tablet.

It only comes with a few ports (a headphone jack, two USB-C ports and a microSD slot) but you can use an adapter to plug in additional peripherals. We like its backlit keyboard, touchscreen, Android app support and that its build feels more like a pricier Ultrabook. If portability is at the top of your list, it’s lightweight and compact, which makes carrying it around campus and doing work on the go more manageable.

Laptop for creative work: Dell XPS 15 & Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (15-inch, 2017)

For film, photography and design students who can’t always use on-campus labs and want a capable machine of their own, we recommend the Dell XPS 15. This Windows laptop has a powerful graphics card and processor that contribute to quick upload and rendering speeds. The Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (15-inch, 2017) is an alternative for students who prefer macOS.

It’s also equipped with a powerful processor, and both machines have excellent displays and responsive trackpads. Either laptop can handle heavy editing projects and demanding creative work that would otherwise slow down a basic laptop.

Anti-malware software: Malwarebytes Premium

In addition to antivirus software, secure passwords, data logins and two-factor authentication, a reliable anti-malware program will help ensure that your computer is protected against vulnerabilities. While antivirus software typically works against worms, viruses and Trojans, anti-malware tackles newer exploits that aren’t spread by email, USB drives or older avenues.

We recommend Malwarebytes Premium for macOS and Windows computers because it runs well with Windows Defender and doesn’t get in the way of other programs. It’s simple to set up and use, plus it performs real-time scanning and doesn’t require you to make special adjustments to settings in order to get the best coverage.

Bluetooth keyboard: Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard

For students who like working across different setups, a Bluetooth keyboard provides the option to take a break from a laptop and work with a desktop computer, smartphone or tablet. The Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard can connect to three devices at once and switch between them with the press of a button.

It’s light, sturdy and small enough to stash in a backpack and use in class, at a library or anywhere else on the go. The combination of its rounded springy keys and the angle of its slope make it comfortable to use over long periods of time. Aside from outperforming other models that we tested, it’s inexpensive and offers two years of battery life with heavy use.

Sanho HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub (left)Type-C Multiport Adapter: Sanho HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub

With every school year that comes around, an updated batch of laptops are released — many of which come with the latest ports. The Sanho HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub pairs best with MacBooks that have a single USB-C port. It adds a single HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C port for passthrough charging.

You’ll be able to connect to HDMI displays that support 4K video while charging your computer at the same time. It’s small, durable and, like other USB-C port laptop adapters that connect devices with “legacy” ports or transfer data, it can be a lifesaver when you’re in a pinch.

These picks may have been updated by Wirecutter

Back-to-college tech for minimalists and the over-prepared

Heading back to college with the best gear is the only push that some students need to get things moving in the right direction.

Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch may earn affiliate commissions.

Heading back to college with the best gear is the only push that some students need to get things moving in the right direction. While students are expected to take lecture notes during class, power through study sessions and, if necessary, do assignments on the go, there are tech essentials better suited than others for getting these jobs done.

Whether it’s time for a new laptop and protective gear or a few new accessories, we’ve got the recommendations covered.

Chromebook: Chromebook Flip C302CA

A Chromebook is a great choice for a simple notebook with a cloud-based storage system, and we think the Chromebook Flip C302CA is the best option. You’ll work predominantly in a browser and across apps — and whichever way is most comfortable, as the Chromebook Flip C302CA’s 360-degree hinge allows it to be used as a laptop or tablet.

It only comes with a few ports (a headphone jack, two USB-C ports and a microSD slot) but you can use an adapter to plug in additional peripherals. We like its backlit keyboard, touchscreen, Android app support and that its build feels more like a pricier Ultrabook. If portability is at the top of your list, it’s lightweight and compact, which makes carrying it around campus and doing work on the go more manageable.

Laptop for creative work: Dell XPS 15 & Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (15-inch, 2017)

For film, photography and design students who can’t always use on-campus labs and want a capable machine of their own, we recommend the Dell XPS 15. This Windows laptop has a powerful graphics card and processor that contribute to quick upload and rendering speeds. The Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (15-inch, 2017) is an alternative for students who prefer macOS.

It’s also equipped with a powerful processor, and both machines have excellent displays and responsive trackpads. Either laptop can handle heavy editing projects and demanding creative work that would otherwise slow down a basic laptop.

Anti-malware software: Malwarebytes Premium

In addition to antivirus software, secure passwords, data logins and two-factor authentication, a reliable anti-malware program will help ensure that your computer is protected against vulnerabilities. While antivirus software typically works against worms, viruses and Trojans, anti-malware tackles newer exploits that aren’t spread by email, USB drives or older avenues.

We recommend Malwarebytes Premium for macOS and Windows computers because it runs well with Windows Defender and doesn’t get in the way of other programs. It’s simple to set up and use, plus it performs real-time scanning and doesn’t require you to make special adjustments to settings in order to get the best coverage.

Bluetooth keyboard: Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard

For students who like working across different setups, a Bluetooth keyboard provides the option to take a break from a laptop and work with a desktop computer, smartphone or tablet. The Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard can connect to three devices at once and switch between them with the press of a button.

It’s light, sturdy and small enough to stash in a backpack and use in class, at a library or anywhere else on the go. The combination of its rounded springy keys and the angle of its slope make it comfortable to use over long periods of time. Aside from outperforming other models that we tested, it’s inexpensive and offers two years of battery life with heavy use.

Sanho HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub (left)Type-C Multiport Adapter: Sanho HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub

With every school year that comes around, an updated batch of laptops are released — many of which come with the latest ports. The Sanho HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub pairs best with MacBooks that have a single USB-C port. It adds a single HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C port for passthrough charging.

You’ll be able to connect to HDMI displays that support 4K video while charging your computer at the same time. It’s small, durable and, like other USB-C port laptop adapters that connect devices with “legacy” ports or transfer data, it can be a lifesaver when you’re in a pinch.

These picks may have been updated by Wirecutter

New Bluetooth Vulnerability Discovered But iOS 11.4+ And macOS 10.13.5+ Users Don’t Need To Worry About It

A new and potentially worrying vulnerability within the implementation of Bluetooth has been discovered and published this week by Intel. The vulnerability comes with the potential to allow hackers to intercept transmissions and relay malicious signals…

A new and potentially worrying vulnerability within the implementation of Bluetooth has been discovered and published this week by Intel. The vulnerability comes with the potential to allow hackers to intercept transmissions and relay malicious signals back and forth between two affected Bluetooth-compatible devices.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Decade-old Bluetooth flaw lets hackers steal data passing between devices

Serious error in the wireless protocol also lets hackers tamper with data.

Enlarge (credit: Takashi Yamamiya)

A large number of device makers are patching a serious vulnerability in the Bluetooth specification that allows attackers to intercept and tamper with data exchanged wirelessly. People who use Bluetooth to connect smartphones, computers, or other security-sensitive devices should make sure they install a fix as soon as possible.

The attack, which was disclosed in a research paper published Wednesday, is serious because it allows people to perform a man-in-the-middle attack on the connection between vulnerable devices. From there, attackers can view any exchanged data, which might include contacts stored on a device, passwords typed on a keyboard, or sensitive information used by medical, point-of-sale, or automotive equipment. Attackers could also forge keystrokes on a Bluetooth keyboard to open up a command window or malicious website in an outright compromise of the connected phone or computer.

Not novel

Bluetooth combines Simple Secure Pairing or LE Secure Connections with principles of elliptic curve mathematics to allow devices that have never connected before to securely securely establish a secret key needed for encrypted communications. The attack uses a newly developed variant of what cryptographers call an invalid curve attack to exploit a major shortcoming in the Bluetooth protocol that remained unknown for more than a decade. As a result, attackers can force the devices to use a known encryption key that allows the monitoring and modifying of data wirelessly passing between them.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Tommy Hilfiger has launched a ridiculous line of smart clothing that rewards you for wearing it

Here comes more smart clothing nobody asked for. Fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger today announced the launch of a new line of men’s and women’s clothing, Tommy Jeans Xplore, which comes with smart-chip embedded technology. Unlike, say, Google’s Project Jacquard and its partnership with Levi’s, the goal is not to offer access to calls, texts, maps and […]

Here comes more smart clothing nobody asked for. Fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger today announced the launch of a new line of men’s and women’s clothing, Tommy Jeans Xplore, which comes with smart-chip embedded technology. Unlike, say, Google’s Project Jacquard and its partnership with Levi’s, the goal is not to offer access to calls, texts, maps and music controls when you can’t get to your phone – like when you’re riding your bike, for example. Instead, Hilfiger’s smart clothing aims to reward you with points for wearing Hilfiger clothing. Yes, really.

It’s come to this, folks.

The line includes t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, jeans, jackets, caps, and bags which pair with the Tommy Jeans Xplore (or “XPLORE” if you use their branding) iOS app over Bluetooth. Once paired, the idea is that users will compete in challenges in the app to earn points. You get points for things like how often you wear the clothes (!!!) and for walking around to find heart-shaped, Tommy-branded icons on the app’s map. (???)

The points can be translated into rewards, including gift cards, signed merchandise and pieces from the Tommy Hilfiger archives, among other things, the company says.

I guess doling out more Tommy Hilfiger merch to players makes sense because the only people who would spend $90 on smart sweatshirt just to play a marketing campaign’s idea of fun have got to be the most seriously devoted – nay, obsessed – Hilfiger fans.

But beyond that, Tommy’s smart clothes don’t make much sense for anyone.

Despite its use of smart technology – like the embedded Awear Solutions’ Bluetooth low energy smart tag – the company hasn’t actually innovated here. At best, it’s a loyalty program requiring customers to overspend in order to join.

Even the company seems to be aware of the line’s niche appeal, saying in its official announcement that its goal is to create a “micro-community of brand ambassadors.”

Yep, micro – as in really, really, really small.

The brand, however, is no stranger to experiments with new ideas and technology. But some of its prior developments have been less absurd – like testing the use of A.I. to forecast design trends, its smartwatches, or adaptive clothing for the disabled.

Smart clothing for the sake of smart clothing though?

Just no.

No.

No.

Stop.

No.

 

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