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Fabric cuts off cellphone access

April 14th, 2016 / By: / What's New?

If the kids’ cell-phone usage is driving parents crazy, there’s something that might replace new underwear and socks for Christmas.

Focus: Life Gear, a project by Japanese designer Kunihiko Morinaga and commissioned by Trident gum, is a fashion collection that uses radio-frequency-shielding fabric to cut off almost all electromagnetic waves to a cellphone when it’s placed in the garment’s pocket. According to a story at Slate.com’s Future Tense blog (a partnership of Slate, New America and Arizona State University), it’s unclear whether the clothes will ever be made available, but they were on display during Toronto Fashion Week.

In the United States, 90 percent own cellphones and, the Pew Internet Project continues, “67 percent of cell owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts or calls—even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating.”

“While the introduction of the Internet and smartphones has made things very convenient, we are spending a lot more time in this virtual world, even when we are with real people,” Morinaga said. He made a point of using fabric that would typically shield wearers from the elements, but applied it to this line to block out “the storm of information” begging for our attention.

While preventing one’s own smartphone from receiving calls and texts is one thing, signal jammers that affect all phones in their vicinity remain illegal in the United States. Other countries take a different approach: France and Japan enforce a code of silence for culture-goers by allowing the jamming of cellphones in movie theaters and concert halls. And churches in Mexico have used them.