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Fos wearable LED panel lights up urban athletes

The Fos Kickstarter project wants to brighten up the athletic fashion world with flexible LED panels that can display workout achievements.

Fos panel
The Fos panels are made to be worn.
Anders Nelson

It can be hard to stand out in a crowd, but a bright, animated wearable LED panel should help you get noticed. The Fos on Kickstarter is a fabric panel with Velcro strips. It weighs less than a golf ball and can be attached to clothing, backpacks, or just about anything else you can think to stick it on.

The Fos receives its animated display instructions wirelessly from your smartphone. It is geared for active people. Runners can display their heart rate. Bicyclists can display their speeds. Imagine seeing all the riders in the Tour de France kitted out with these.

Each Fos panel consists of white or blue LEDs, a microprocessor, flash memory, and a power supply. The panel is attached to a sheet of fabric and is extremely thin.

An 11x3-inch Fos patch is going for a $149 pledge. The overall project goal is to raise $200,000. A chunk of that is scheduled to go toward developing applications for the Fos, so it can be used right out of the box.

One of the neater ideas for Fos is to tie it in with GPS and biking. Enter your route into an app and wear the patch on your back. The LEDs will display large animated indicators showing which direction you're turning as your phone tracks you on GPS. It would give traffic around you a very bright heads-up about your movements.

Fos looks like fun for anyone into wearable tech, but the urban athlete audience will likely find it especially interesting, as anything that improves your ability to be seen is a good idea when you're sweating away on the streets. Also, the Fos may well end up being a motivational tool for lazy people. Once you've seen three or four of these running by advertising amazing workout feats, you just might be inspired to get your butt into shape.

Fos panel in operation
Fos can flash information out to the public. Anders Nelson