Fast Forward: 21st century girl

A PC you wear like sunglasses, vitamin-enriched tights, phone- watches: get set for the future, it's nearer than you think
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Indy Lifestyle Online
What does the future look like? According to Matthew Jeatt of trend-forecasting company Promostyl UK, there are enormous technological advances out there already which are currently under-exploited. New products are always coming out, but we don't have the time to understand and utilise them fully. The Internet is the classic example of a technology before its time - only now are we starting to make proper use of it. In areas as diverse as computing, textiles and military hardware, technological leaps forward are shaping a different world for us. Here's what should be coming soon to a high street near you.

1. Watch-phone

At last, a dream-come-true for every true science fiction lover - a telephone that you can wear on your wrist. Samsung and Swatch have both launched models - but there are currently no plans for a UK appearance. The Samsung watch-phone weighs just 39g and has all the features of a flashy mobile phone, including voice-activated dialling, earpiece and microphone extension, vibration alert and LCD. Visit www.samsungelectronics.com or www.swatch.com for more information

2. Wearable PC

IBM has developed a wearable PC that weighs under 500g and is the size of a personal stereo. It can be attached to clothing or a belt and is operated by a miniature controller in the palm of the hand; a microphone means it can also be voice-controlled. The display unit is a transparent LCD panel which sits over the right eye, so users can concentrate on screen detail or look through the panel for normal vision. Unfortunately, IBM is still using cables to connect components, rather than wireless or cutting-edge fabric technology which incorporates circuitry into garments.

Visit www.ibm.com/pvc for more information

3. Vitamin C tights

The Japanese, probably at the forefront of future fabrics, have invented Vitamin C-enriched tights. When they are worn, vitamins are released into the skin. This is an example of how technology can be effortlessly integrated into everyday life. Currently only available in Japan.

4. Personal medical kit

Imagine a device that would sit in your pocket or on a belt and respond to information about the state of your health from implants or a skin patch on your body. If anything was amiss, the machine would recommend a course of action (take vitamins, visit doctor ASAP). There's nothing on the market yet, but it is technologically feasible (in fact, anything in an intensive care department can be scaled down for personal use - it's a question of cost and demand). And, according to Matthew Jeatt, scientists are currently locked in labs - all very hush-hush - working on this very device.

5. Mood-enhancing lipstick

Tony & Tina in New York has developed a lipstick that includes Saint John's wort, a plant which is used as a homeopathic anti-depressant. Now reapplying the lippy can be good for you. This one is actually on sale, pounds 11.95 from Liberty, Regent Street, London W1 (0171-734 1234).

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