They are pants. Or maybe we should call them Pants with Benefits. Some of you — especially parents of young teens — will find them totally inappropriate. The folks at Instructables.com find them totally silly, which is why they invented them.
Randy Sarafin (author of 62 Projects to Make With A Dead Computer) and his gang at run one of the world's premier do-it-yourself sites; inventors from all over the world submit ideas, documentation, instructions — at this point they've gathered tens of thousands of ideas, and browsing through, you'll find solar-powered driveway lights, aquarium coffee tables, all kinds of ingenious devices, documented for free, all buildable, if you can follow instructions and have all the parts, which in this case includes:
A Romantic partner.
Ordinary trousers (with zipper)
A 7805 voltage regulator
An M-type power plug
8" x 6" x 3" project enclosure
12" x 18" x 1/8" acrylic sheet
6-32 x 1" nuts and bolts
Lamp power cord
SmartFan AC-VX Fan Controller
9V battery holder
5V reed relays
1/8" mono panel-mount jacks
And more stuff that I'm not listing here
Put 'em all together and you will have yourself a pair of "Romance Pants." That's what they're calling them. And here's what they do:
In the event that someone (presumably not the wearer) begins to pull the pants zipper downward, lights in the surrounding room will dim, the stereo will turn on, and upon unbuttoning the waist button, strategically placed candles will suddenly, electronically ignite, creating a glow so romantic and so pleasing, the sensual effect, says Randy, "is sure to shock and awe any prospective partner into ecstatic submission."
In support of which, the gang at Instructables have made a video. (Parents: Don't worry. No one gets undressed. Too many wires would suddenly be unhidden.) (Serious people: Don't watch this. It's silly — though it gets better; the last half shows people sewing and soldering.)
You may have noticed the prominently displayed Red Bull logo (on the "belt"). That's because these pants were submitted to a Red Bull-sponsored design competition.
Here's a more technical account of what they did from Goli Mohammadi, blogging for Make:
Competing teams were sent the custom Bullduino, Red Bull-branded Arduino microcontroller. Team Instructables used the Bullduino as the belt buckle, hooked up to a modded wireless shield, then fashioned a zipper potentiometer and a waist button switch. ... Combine that with some hacked electric ignition candles (that use a combination of nichrome wire and shaved match head dust to rapidly ignite when hooked up to power), a stereo remote hack, a custom six-outlet main controller, and some sexy programming, and magic happens.
There is, of course, one obvious problem. Most of the time, zippers are lowered for a very different purpose. So these pants should probably come with a warning: Avoid Drinking While Wearing. And keep a fire extinguisher near the sofa.