What does the well-dressed technophile wear? What article of clothing does your favorite geek want for Christmas, instead of another tie or pair of acrylic socks or knit hat and gloves set? Oh, that’s right, there are girl geeks too, and yes, this item would be appropriate for them. (I mean, us.)
It’s the Personal Soundtrack Shirt. It looks like other black tee-shirts with some design emblazoned on the front, except that in the middle of the chest area is a speaker.
This is a wearable sound system. The speaker is for real. There’s a remote the geek can carry in the pocket. He/she pushes the button that corresponds to the desired sound effect, and hark! is that the police? The buzzer? Applause?
Your gifted geek might want to pop in his/her own memory card containing favorite trax or other sound effects, if cheering, booing, laughter, sexy time themes, scary music, the Lone Ranger theme, drum rolls, bunny-hoppy jive, spy mission music, western showdown echoes, crying, laughter, monster menacing and cat calls don’t cover the life situations he/she encounters.
Geek-o or Geek-elle will be able to connect an audio player such as an iPod, using the input jack on the battery box. The necessary male-to-male headphone cable is not included with the Personal Soundtrack Shirt, so you might want to add one to the gift. The volume control on the player can be used to control the volume of the shirt. (Sound volume or amplitude, I mean. The spatial volume of the shirt is a matter of physical development and diet, seems to me.)
If this all sounds like a belated April Fool gag, it was a timely one. It was a put-on, not an actual product, but the concept proved so popular that ThinkGeek Labs acceded to the many requests to “make the shirt already!”
Batteries are not included. The well-dressed geek will need four AAAs.
She-geeks will be wondering about washing instructions. (Some he-geeks I have known are clean-freaks, but others seemed unfamiliar with the concept of washing shirts, or anything else for that matter.)
First, unplug the battery pack from the cable, and unhook the remote; remove.
Peel the Velcro-backed speaker from the shirt, and pull out its cable and remove.
Wash the shirt in cold water, either in the gentle cycle of the washer or by hand.
Hang on a hanger to dry, or tumble dry on a low setting.
This nicely pre-accessorized garment sells for $29.95. But even grungy geeks change their shirts now and then, don’t they! Besides, you probably know several geeks, and it would never do to give them identical gifts, would it? So you will be glad to know that there are Drum Kit, Electronic Rock Guitar, T-qualizer and Wi-Fi Detector shirts, all priced the same, and all in basic black.
The Drum Kit shirt has a sound system and seven pieces (bass, snare, cocktail, cymbals, etc), or art showing them. The musical geek taps them singly or in combination to call forth their sounds.
The Electronic Rock Guitar depicts a large guitar with a better than full-size fingerboard and buttons for the (labeled) chords—you were expecting actual strings and frets?
It occurs to me that the Personal Soundtrack Shirt in particular could be made to outlast the fabric of the original garment, by adapting a successor shirt with a pocket for the battery pack and remote and some Velcro for the speaker.
The guitar and drum versions have speaker units that hang on the belt. The Wi-Fi Detector has an antenna. Possibly those could be “renewed” with shirt transplants. I think most such things can be done. After all, I have been credited with performing the world’s first a** transplant, when I sewed an entire jeans backside replacement, waist to mid-thighs, to a friend’s much worn favorite Levis.
As for ThinkGeek Labs, I think that they are showing a surprising lack of imagination: why only tee-shirts? Why not electronic implants in ties and blazers and sweatshirts? But knowing them, those items could well be in production as we speak; they just haven’t hit the market yet.