A few years ago fitness trackers were a rage and having sensors on your wrist were a quick way to keep tabs on your health and also track all your activities. But fitness trackers are not always the most accurate equipment in the market and the soon scientists and designers came together to design something called ‘smart clothing’. These are clothes that you wear in everyday life, but they have sensors in them that will connect to our bodies in a way that was earlier seen only on trackers or sensors that we wear.
Smart clothing is here to stay and in fact, many companies are now coming up with their own brands of smart fabrics that can track your activities and even your heart rate! Read on to know more!
Why Shift To Smart Clothing?
Let’s face it, none of us really like the feeling of wearing a watch or an activity tracker all the time – there’s the problem of sweat and there’s always something stuck to you and it’s not that great a feeling. But what if there’s something that doesn’t feel like a burden at all, and it’s just clothes! Everyone loved the idea and hence, smart clothing was born!
Fashion And Science- The Holy Grail:
What makes smart clothing so accurate is the fact that it has sensors that are embedded into your everyday wear. And since these are in very close proximity to your body (they are touching your body in all ways), they are also in a better position to understand the minute workings of what is happening in your body.
So essentially, the smart clothing that you will be wearing will monitor your heart rate and analyze your sweat and they will also do the job of keeping a watch on your breathing patterns. These are just some of the smart activities that the smart clothing being manufactured right now are doing. Once the researchers learn to get even smarter, the possibilities will become endless.
The best part about smart clothing is the fact that it does not deviate from your normal routine. You would have worn clothes anyway, but it’s just that your clothes have become a tad bit smarter now!
Right now, the garments that are being designed either have sensors in them or are attached to sensing mechanism. Slowly, this will change and the garment itself will become a sensor – that’s the next level!
Here are some of the smart clothing that is available in the market right now:
1. Athos Core:
Smart gym clothes that actually look so good, you can give all your money! Athos clothes are exactly what you would want in your gym clothes. The Athos Core is merely 20gm and it has micro AMG sensors that are designed to pick up signals from your body. The gear will collect information on how hard your muscles are working by means of electricity sensors that are being sent throughout your body.
The Athos shirt helps you to track the info from these major upper-body muscle groups: your pecs, the biceps, triceps, deltoids, lats, and traps. They also have shorts available in this collection that can be used to see and understand the force that is being exerted by: inner quads, outer quads, hamstrings, and glutes. But how does this information reach you?
The Athos transmission system is very simple – The information that is gleaned from your working muscles is then relayed with the help of Bluetooth to your smartphone app. The smartphone app can be used for real-time biometric tracking and this includes information such as your muscle activity. Another big advantage of using the Athos clothes is that the tracking will also help to understand if you are doing the activities correctly and if not, the app will give you an advice on how these activities should be done correctly.
So besides giving you information on how to do an exercise correctly and how hard your muscles are being exerted, the apparel will also give you a way to track your heart and breathing rate. It comes with a 6-axis accelerometer that can be used for measuring movement, calorie expenditure and active time versus rest time. Seems unbelievable to have smart costumes like that, right? But this technology is now available and it can be bought at liveathos.com
2. Hoxoskin Smart:
Hoxoskin smart is another smart outfit-based tracker that will soon replace the wrist trackers that we use every day. The Canadian outfit maker has come up with a hi-tech range of shirts that can help to track the heart rate of the wearer, know the rate of heart recovery, detect the heart rate variability, breathing rate, VO2 max, levels of activity, minute ventilation, calories, cadence, and steps count. This is one of the most innovative wearable technologies and the list of things it can track is nearly endless!
Think that you can’t lay your hands on it? Well, think again, because the product is already being used and utilized by many space agencies, even military organizations, and professional sports teams based all over the world. The t-shirts work in a special manner. There is a very tiny device that is easy to slip into the pouch of the shirt. Thus the device is used to capture all your data in real time.
All this information is then sent via your phone’s Bluetooth to the device’s smartphone app. You can see all your real-time data on this app. Popular sports tracking devices, like Endomodo, Strava, and Runkeeper can also be integrated with this app to publish your data or analyse it. Hoxoskin comes in both male and female variants and you can choose between long sleeved or short sleeved t-shirts.
3. Ministry Of Supply Mercury-Heated Jacket:
For those of us in the cold weather, wouldn’t you want to have a jacket that is battery operated and thermal? What makes the Ministry of Supply jacket special then? It’s the machine learning bit that it comes with. The jacket is voice-controlled and can respond to Alexa or Siri or Google Home and is 90% recyclable.
It also uses machine learning to understand the wearer’s optimal body temperature. So depending on the outside temperature, preferences of the user and motion, the jacket will give you an optimal temperature to keep you warm. It can give you the right amount of heat for a range of temperatures. In fact, it’s creators are simply saying – the jacket knows the temperature you want without having to tell it!
4. Under Armour Athlete Recovery Sleepwear:
Sleep is anyway considered the ultimate recovery activity, but what if there’s a sleepwear that assists and augments this recovery? The Under Armour Athlete Recovery Sleepwear is meant to do just that! These sleepwear articles are just some innovative pyjamas. But they have a wide range of activities that use infrared technology to reduce your body’s inflammation and help you sleep better.
The USP of these clothes is that they use these special materials called bioceramic particles that can be used to absorb the body’s natural heat and then reflect back “Far Infrared.” Studies have proven that this can be used to help the body in recovering much faster and also promoting better sleep.
When the idea first came in, these are not used by the mainstream public, but they are mostly being used for therapeutic purposes in lamps and saunas. Only now has this been embedded in clothes and used by the public. It is even available in the stores now.
5. Nadi X Yoga Pants:
Smart clothing has really come a long way. Besides the common clothes that help you detect the body’s temperature and other characteristics, the Nadi X Yoga pants are a wearable technology that can help to get the perfect yoga experience. The Bluetooth enabled pants have sensors in various strategic points of the body – the hips, the knees, and the ankles.
The pulse sensors gently vibrate when you are performing yoga and your poses are not correct or are a little off. You have a smartphone app to connect to the pants and the data is transmitted there. You can then analyse your different poses and what went wrong to understand that you don’t end up doing the same mistake. The app, in fact, comes with 40 yoga poses and even has music in it to soothe and calm you!
6. Sensoria Running Socks:
Socks that tell you whether you are running well or not, the future is really here! These Sensoria Smart Socks come with 100% textile pressure sensors that are embedded in the socks are used to inform the wearer in real-time whether and when you are striking with the heel or the ball of your foot. An important thing here is for people who run regularly, using the wrong technique to run can cause a lot of injuries. So these socks will help you correct your form and prevent any sort of wrong techniques.
The smart socks also work in a very unique way – The socks are connected to a very lightweight anklet which is used to wirelessly relay the run data to the Sensoria Fitness mobile app. Your foot landing technique, your cadence, and your speed are automatically integrated from the socks into the app and you can analyze it at the end of your run.
The App is very comprehensive in itself and with the information from the socks, it can analyse your run in a very detailed way. So besides your foot landing and cadence, the app will also give you a foot heat-map and information on the contact time on the ground, your cadence, the pace you are running at, and if you have a Sensoria HRM or other heart rate devices, it can even give you the heart rate. It also acts as an altimeter and a GPS and all that information can be later analysed. The app also comes with fitness tips and can be used to track your fitness goals.
This is especially for the ladies who are into fitness. Another Canadian company – OMSignal came up with a special bra called the OMbra that is a sports bra cum fitness tracker. What’s the thing that you would expect from a sports bra? Its ability to calculate the heart rate, but the OMbra goes much beyond that and it can not only detect the heart rate, but it also calculates the pace, the cadence, the impact and the breathing pattern of the user.
In fact, the OMbra is one of the first bras that have a technology that combines calculation of the breathing rate and the heart rate. The data that is achieved from the bra can be used to calculate fat-burning and prevent the risk of injury or fatigue. The bra comes with straps that are adjustable and has padding cups as well. The good news is, it comes in four different sizes, so if you are one of those data-driven fitness junkies, this one is surely going to make a big difference to your fitness regime. You can analyse and know your data better and at the same time come up with a routine that does not risk any type of injury to your body.
So these are some of the major wearables that have already hit the market and are concentrating on the folks who are fitness freaks and would live to wear non-restrictive clothing to track their fitness. Samsung too has a smart belt that raises an alarm when you start packing on a few pounds.
Joe’s Jeans has come up with denim pants for ladies that have a special pocket for charging your iPhone. Wearable tech is advancing and transforming at a tremendous rate and it has now forced major industries into venturing to smart clothing because they know that soon the wrist sensors and watches will become cumbersome for people who want to move faster and get fitter faster.
Companies are now realizing the fact that a lot of people now are interested in understanding their bodies better and making decisions that are based on how their body is feeling at that point in time. It’s great for customers like us too – we will be able to make more informed decisions thanks to our clothes that are digitally talking to us! It’s only a matter of time until all our smart clothing becomes a regular part of our life!
Let us know what you think in the comments box.