Ballantine’s revolutionise the T-Shirt with TShirtos



If you could communicate through your t-shirt, what would you say? Perhaps it’s time to start thinking.  Ballantine’s and digital partner WorkClub, who last year brought you a tattooed QR code, have worked with innovative clothing brand CuteCircuit to reinvent the original canvas of personal expression; the t-shirt. 

Introducing tshirtOS.  Wearable, shareable, programmable and 100% cotton, tshirtOS allows you to share your Facebook Status, Tweets, photos and favourite songs with anyone who walks your way. A built-in camera allows the wearer to take photos and a headphone jack to listen to music directly from iTunes.

“The t-shirt is the original canvas of self-expression. It was the Facebook status before there was a Facebook status. Whether you wore the Smiley Face, Che Guevara or Frankie Says Relax, your favourite t-shirt tells the world something about you. Ballantine’s has taken that thought and made it bigger.” says Global Brand Director, Peter Moore.

So how does it work?  On its mission to celebrate creativity and personal expression Ballantine’s approached CuteCircuit and challenged them to reinvent the T-shirt using modern technology.  The result?  A t-shirt with its own built in operating system that is controlled by a mobile application functioning as a bridge between the t-shirt and the internet.

All 1024 pixels of tshirtOS can be viewed above. The video showcases the t-shirt and asks the inevitable question: would you want one? 

The fact is, as a prototype tshirtOS costs a lot, but the more interest there is in tshirtOS, the more accessible the price will become. Ballantine’s are capturing this interest via their Facebook page and if enough people want one, tshirtOS will be produced and purchasable.

In the meantime, Ballantine’s will also be getting the world excited by the possibilities tshirtOS presents.  Three short films testing tshirtOS in London, Mexico City and São Paulo will be released in the coming weeks. Stay tuned on for more updates. 

tshirtOS Technical Specifications: 

LED Screen resolution

  • The LED Screen has a resolution of 1024 pixels, spaced 1cm apart, in a 32 by 32 pixel grid embedded into the fabric of the t-shirt. Each pixel is RGB (Red Green Blue) to make a full colour display. The LEDs used are ultra thin (like a sheet of paper), the brightest full colour discreet LEDs in the world at this thinness and only 2 by 2 mm wide. The screen is controlled by 32 ultra thin microprocessors, managing the screen control software “Q” by CuteCircuit.


  • The camera is an Omnivision Camera Cube.
  • The Camera Cube combines the full functionality of a single chip image sensor, embedded processor and wafer- level optics in one compact, small-profile package. Boasting the industry’s smallest footprint and z-height (2.5 x 2.9 x 2.5 mm), it is ideal for today’s ultra-slim applications, such as wearable technology. Unlike traditional camera module designs that combine image sensors and lenses in a barrel, OmniVision devices are assembled using wafer level alignment tools.
  • The lens can be placed directly onto chip scale packaged (CSP) image sensors, which eliminates the need for flex cables and interposers. Elimination of image contamination issues such as fixed pattern noise, smearing, and blooming produces a clean, fully stable colour image, which in the case of the tshirtOS is scaled down to 32 by 32 pixels to be displayed.


  • This is a small, thin, low power, 3-axis accelerometer with high resolution up to ±16 g. It detects a person’s jumping motion (the momentary absence of gravity or free fall detection) and activates animations on the tshirtOS.
  • This accelerometer is the latest generation triple-axis, hi resolution digital, micro mechanical inertial sensor. 

Headphone Jack

  • This is a generic 3-poles stereo jack. We have 2 on tshirtOS – one for the headphone and the second for a headset/ microphone option.
  • The headphone jacks fit all types of headphones.

Circuit board and processors

  • The Brain circuit is an ultra slim PCB that snaps into the tshirtOS hub to provide it with BlueTooth capability.
  • The Bluetooth is CE and FCC certified, with an integrated micro-antenna, and it supports both the HFP, SPP, and A2DP profiles for hands-free and serial port use. The Brain is chargeable via USB simply by plugging it into a computer USB port, and the tiny Li-Po battery recharges in about 1 hour. The accelerometer and the micro- controller reside in the Brain. The micro controller controls the LED screen. We have 2 versions of the Brain where at the heart of the system is either an 8-bit processor from ATMEL or a 32-bit ARM Cortex processor, the latest ultra- powerful and energy efficient ARM processor, also from ATMEL.

iPhone and iOS support

  • The application will only be supported on iPhone4S and iOS5+ in its initial release. 

About Ballantine’s

Ballantine’s produces Scotch whisky of outstanding quality; it is the no 1 Scotch whisky in Europe and the no 2 in the world. Using only the finest malt and grain whiskies from the four corners of Scotland, its signature style is unique, smooth and elegant. A complex and authentic blend that is worthy of carrying George Ballantine’s name on it. 

About Cute Circuit

Cute Circuit specialise in creating innovative intelligent clothing that integrates beauty and functionality through the use of smart textiles and microelectronics. They are the first company to merge wearable and telecommunication technology to create emotionally rich experiences.

About Work Club

Work Club is a digital creative agency. In 2011 the agency won Marketing’s Digital Agency of the Year. Work Club helps its clients put digitally-powered creativity at the heart of their brands and businesses. Its work addresses a wide variety of business and brand challenges for global, regional and UK clients, most of which are number 1 or number 2 in their sectors. Work Club’s clients include BBC, Coca-Cola, Sharp, Kraft, Pernod Ricard, McLaren F1 and General Mills.

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Chris "MUG5" Maguire is a multimedia futurist that specializes in all things multimedia. From Record Production to Film Making Chris has worked with hi-end clients the world over. Chris is the Editor in Chief of both &