Smart Clothes – the next step beyond wearables
The world market for smart technology products is looking to increase over the next few years, and the technology is starting to become more and more popular as consumers are actually embracing the tech and finding the functional uses for it. And the next step beyond wearables is smart clothes.
Despite smart watches and activity trackers just beginning to become popular, smart clothing is already starting to appear. Much more than strapping gadgets to our wrists, faces, ears and feet, smart clothing can constantly track our heart rate, monitor our emotions and even pay for our coffee.
Let’s have a look at some of the coolest smart clothing items out there:
- Ralph Lauren Polo tech shirt
Luxury clothes brand Ralph Lauren has been developing smart clothing with sensor specialist OM Signal. The nylon shirt is infused with conductive silver-coated fibres which act as sensors that then stream this data in real time to a smartphone. The shirt tracks distance, calories burned, heart rate, stress rate and intensity of movement.
Also, the shirt not only measures heart rate and breathing rate but actively offers feedback on your training via your phone or tablet. If you’re not pushing hard enough to stay in your desired heart rate zone it will tell you, audibly, to push more. The PoloTech Shirt is available on the Ralph Lauren site now for $295.
- Lumo Run shorts
The Lumo Run shorts are filled with sensors capable of tracking running metrics including cadence, bounce, ground contact time, braking, pelvic rotation and stride length. They’ll even offer real time audio feedback via the app and your headphones. The Lumo Run shorts are available for pre-order now from $99.
- LikeAGlove leggings
The LikeAGlove leggings intelligently measure a person’s shape so they can shop for the ideal sized clothes. Not only do the leggings find all the perfect measurements but they work, via Bluetooth, with the app to filter clothing options down to those that are available in the buyer’s size.
The objective is to make shopping for clothes easier by getting the correct size every time, something which isn’t always easy online when you can’t try items on in the shop first. LikeAGlove leggings are available for pre-order now for $49,99.
- Sensoria running socks
These connected socks aim to track your runs in detail, offering information on pace, distance and time as well as your running style. They can help users run with better form, which can lead to faster times and a reduced risk of injury.
The socks features three textile pressure sensors, which measure the pressure placed on the foot during running. All the number crunching is done by a unit that clips onto the top of the sock, and then the data is shown up in an app dashboard. The Sensoria socks are available now for $139.
- Synapse smart dress
The Synapse smart dress, designed by Anouk Wipprecht, might not be exactly where smart clothing is headed but it’s a fascinating demo of what the tech can do. Powered by Intel’s Edison chip, the 3D printed dress measures all sorts of things with biosensors and reacts in different ways.
A proximity sensor sets off a bright array of 120W LEDs if someone gets too close, a camera on the front can capture which objects or people affected your mood and a matching headpiece tracks attention levels. For now, the smart dress is still at a concept stage, but the technology behind it is pretty impressive, right?
How wearable technologies will integrate into our daily lives still remains to be seen, but products like the Hug Shirt that allows you to share a virtual hug with someone who isn’t there physically, or wearing a t-shirt that might change color to red inside a football stadium to demonstrate support for a certain team look very interesting, don’t you think?