You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to design an ugly Christmas sweater. But apparently it doesn’t hurt.
Mark Rober, a former engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, quit his day job six months ago after scoring a YouTube hit with a Halloween costume that makes it look like you have a bloody, gaping hole in your chest. Now he designs silly smartphone-enhanced costumes full-time.
His latest efforts make use of a free Android and iPhone app to reinvigorate the tired ugly-Christmas-sweater genre. Download the app, slip your smartphone in the Velcro pouch, and then just stand back smugly sipping your eggnog as the plaudits roll in.
“It just blows people’s minds,” Rober told me in a phone interview, “because for thousands of years clothing has been static. It doesn’t move. And then when it does, people are like, ‘What kind of sorcery is that?’ And then you explain that it’s a phone and they’re like, ‘Oh. Yeah.’”
So the technology behind the shirt isn’t exactly rocket science. But Rober says that may be part of its appeal. “Wearable tech is really exploding, and I feel like five years down the road tech is going to be totally in our clothing. It’s the next frontier for tech to conquer in our lives. But we’re not there yet. I’m not saying putting a smartphone in your sweater or shirt is the best solution, but at least it’s a stepping stone. And I think it resonates partly because it’s kind of obvious, and it makes people go, ‘Aw, why didn’t I think of that?’ ”
TODAY IN SLATE
The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola
The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore
And schools are getting worried.
Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War
Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough
So they added a little self-immolation.