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What's happened to the wireless running bra?

Let's hope the project hasn't gone titsup

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A true running geek has a pulse rate monitor like any running freak; but it has to talk to a running computer. Normally, to do that, you have to wear a chest strap to hold the heart sensor. So the world's joggers got quite excited last August when Adidas and Polar announced that the heart monitor of the future would be fashionable. It would be your running vest itself - or your bra, if you wear one.

That was August, and the promise was that these running gadgets would be available "in spring" which, admittedly, has been a bit late this year.

But by any standard once the rainy season (Wimbledon fortnight) has started, it's summer. And where are the Adistar Fusion apparel items?

Good question. "Be first..." says the special joint venture web site inviting you to give them your email. But that's about as close as you get, bar a few Flash movies. They're great movies showing young, athletic humans wearing relatively few clothes - but nothing about "buy them here" can be found.

Yes, the joint website does have a link to both Adidas and to Polar. Again, you'll search those sites in vain to get merchant info. They simply aren't for sale.

So, loving the idea of a wireless computer link to a vest and a running shoe, decided to use the phone and ask for more info.

Polar's office rang straight through to a girly voicemail saying: "Leave a message." That was the marketing department for the entire UK. We left a message; we left our phone number. The phone stays silent.

So we tried Adidas. After considerable hard work we found a customer service number. They put us through the Third Degree before they consented to reveal the Adidas head office phone number - where, they assured us, the press relations office worked. So we rang it.

"The press office," said HQ, "is handled by Ketchum." We rang the Ketchum number. "Erm, I don't have that information," confessed the account manager. "Why don't you send me your email, and I'll pass it on to the right people?" Again, no response.

It seems we're coming up to a momentous date. Either, the joint announcement of products and demonstrations is due any day! - or, the fashion for abandoning joint ventures (see Nokia-Sanyo) will overtake this worthy project, and it will be disbanded. So, which?

Don't panic! The website for the joint project may be moribund (when we signed up for information, we got a blank email!) but the "small technical detail" which has been holding up the running computer launch has "been resolved", according to Hill and Knowlton, the PR agency in charge.

And the official launch will be, definitely, in September. That gives you just three months to get fit enough to be seen in public wearing this cool gear...

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