Digital lederhosen for DIY yodellers

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The Independent Online

A German clothing manufacturer has just launched the world's first ever pair of "digital Lederhosen" - complete with integrated MP3 player.

Unveiled this month at Germany's famous technology trade fair, CeBIT, the "MP3-Player-Interface-Lederhose" shuns the tradition of embroidering Edelweiss flowers or hunting motifs down the leg of the Bavarian cow-hide breeches. Instead, a neat row of on-off, volume, play and shuffle buttons runs down the thigh.

The leather shorts even come with an in-built mobile phone, the mouthpiece embedded in the suspender straps. These will come in useful in the new generation of WiFi-enabled Bavarian beer gardens.

Developed by Munich-based firm Lodenfrey, the digi-trousers are part of a range of "wearable electronics" on show at the fair. One Hamburg firm has developed "eBlocker", a new fabric intended for use within jacket pockets which claims to block out 99.9999 per cent of mobile phone radiation.

Another, more serious invention is a bodystocking for babies that uses integrated sensors to monitor the child's breathing and body temperature.

"Smart textiles are now no longer a niche market," said Lilian Thau, head of Germany's Fashion Innovation Service. "Even the industry's biggest players, such as Levi's and Adidas [are] integrating intelligent features in their products nowadays."

And for those who have overindulged, perhaps, a "Know-Where Jacket", with a GPS antenna in its shoulder, can tell the wearer where he or she is anywhere in the world to within a few metres.