I received some proximity-sensing t-shirts from ThinkGeek to review, and got excited. Would I discover the love of my life while playing high-tech hide-and-seek? Or would I wind up lonelier than before? (Hint: Their high-pitch sound scares away dogs.)
Since Valentine's Day is all about getting touchy-feely with other people while calling attention to the things going boom-ba-boom-boom in our chests, I called in ThinkGeek's most appropriate products: The 8-Bit Dynamic Life shirt and the Locked On Proximity Sensing shirt.
The concept's the same for both shirts: Your chest half-glows until you find someone else with a matching shirt. Then your whole chest glows. It's fun, but there's a chance you'll find yourself doomed to wearing a shirt with only 2.5 hearts lit up, or one flashing an eternal "scanning" pattern.
Why in Cupid's Name Do I Want These Things?
I'll admit it. I laughed when I opened the box of shirts. It's not as if I'm going to find my Valentine with them by say strolling through the mall, continuously monitoring my heart levels. If I did find someone that way, would I really want to date a person who willingly wears a shirt like that?
So, since using them as a way to aid my lovelife was out, the next logical idea was to play hide-and-seek. The Locked On shirts seem made for it. Sadly it was raining—the Florida equivalent of the Northeast's Snowpocalypse—and things just aren't fun when trying to play a game in a small indoor space. There's only so many places to hide, and the shirts light up when they're within about 12 feet of its counterpart. And in case you're wondering, the two pairs are incompatible, so a four-way match was out of the question. Great, I can't even lure a few people over to play then. What do I do with these shirts now?
Wait, What's That Sound?
While wearing the 8-Bit shirt, I'd noticed it was emitting a high-pitched noise. At first I thought it was just my imagination, but the sound was all the more obvious with the Locked On shirt. It's high-pitched, it's annoying, and as soon as I stepped close to my neighbor's dog, it made him run away. I think the poor pooch is now hiding somewhere, paws over his violated ears. And I'm left sitting here, even lonelier than I started out.
The Fun Wore Off Too Fast
It's almost sad to say, but the interactive shirts are kinda fun for a few minutes. There's something amusing about watching your front light up when near a similar shirt, but when you're all alone, that excitement is short-lived. If you and your significant other each wore them to bed (lumpy three-AAA battery packs and all), you might even be able to read a Kindle by their strong glow. But by yourself, with just half the luminosity, you'd be hard pressed to see much more than the hand in front of your face.
Great for animal-haters since dogs will run away.
Decent battery life. I didn't manage to kill any of the AAAs (three per shirt) used during testing.
No more expensive than an average gimmicky shirt.
The electronic parts of the shirt are removable for washing.
They're kinda dorky looking, aren't they?
Having a battery pack poking your side or back gets annoying really quickly
One is a very lonely number. You need either a pair of shirts or a special device to take advantage of the interactive aspect of the shirts.
Bad Valentine is our own special take on the beauty—and awkwardness—of geek love.