Making Wearable Tech Sexy
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MAKING TECH SEXY
Daily Mail & Guardian
27 October 2000
Former Eastern Bloc spy, bodyguard to sheikhs and celebrities -- and
co-founder of an outfit that makes designer PCs you can wear on your body.
You can say Katrina Barillova has led a full life. But she's only 27.
An attractive, 142-I.Q. Czechoslovakian with a mission to make wearable tech
mainstream, Barillova today is the vice president of Charmed Technology,
Inc. Their business: to turn wireless, wearable PCs into desirable
accessories for the fashion conscious.
Charmed Technology is busy developing an ambitious "Charmed Communicator" --
a complete PC hidden inside a stylish belt buckle with accompanying
sunglasses. The wearer will be able to use the sunglasses to surf the web,
watch TV, listen to radio broadcasts and even make telephone calls.
Trained from the age of 14 in the then Czechoslovakia to be a secret agent,
Katrina Barillova knows a lot about wearing minituarised surveillance and
communications tech on her body. And as a spy whose cover it was to work as
a fashion model, she is also well versed in wearing gadgets so that they
form a natural part of her ensemble. So when she moved to the U.S. after the
fall of Communism, it was not surprising that she eventually teamed up with
M.I.T. graduate Alex Lightman, a specialist in satellite communications.
Lightman's work in wireless technology and Barillova's experience not only
in wearable tech but also fashion have given rise to a new phenomenon: geek
fashion shows. This year, Barillova's Brave New Unwired World events have
bridged the divide between nerdy body-computers and high fashion like never
before. Models slink down runways wearing Borg-like eyepieces,
voice-activated necklaces, bracelet telephones ... and the list of so-called
Charm Connected Jewelry keeps on growing.
The only downside to this new era of chic tech is the fact that, while they
look terrific, most of the Charmed Technology gadgets aren't ready for the
market yet. But judging from the enthusiasm of fashion pundits around the
world, the market is definitely ready for Katrina Barillova and her sexy
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