Whoever could have ever imagined that clothing would have to get smart? What’s next, standardized testing for your underpants? Don’t laugh. It may happen.
Somewhere between the wrist-based trackers, smartwatch wars, and stickables, wearable technology nestled into clothing.
In fact, you can wearables walking down every runway now, from fitness to the highbrow fancy pants clothing like men’s suits. Bolt on some of wearable’s more fashionable jewelry and you could gather some significant data.
This list is by no means comprehensive. These are the most exciting moves in wearables, according to Bodyhacks. Turn on your heart rate monitor. Your resting heart rate is about to spike.
The good thing about wearing bras is your clothing is perfectly positioned to bolt on health tracking devices, such as the one found on the OmBra.
Of course, that never stopped brands like Polar from making chest straps for both genders. That’s what the Omsignal crew did. They made shirts for those who’d prefer to wear a shirt.
Bra or shirt, the Om smart device snaps in at the bottom of the ribcage, surprise, on the heart side. Guess what it tracks? You guessed it; that and more.
Plus, you receive real-time data with the companion app. You get about 12-14 hours with one charge. When you wash the shirt, you simply remove the smart device.
If you’d like to read more about the Levi’s Trucker Jacket, read this.
A simple idea, the trucker jacket from Levi’s is a joint effort with Google’s Project Jacquard team.
Designed for cyclists, the jacket allows them to ride with both hands on the bars. It allows wearers to adjust the volume on their phones, take calls, get directions and more, all by swiping the sleeve.
The jacket is washable, provided you remove the device.
If you want to read more about Athos, click here. One of, if not the only, wearable to use EMG technology for measuring data, Athos is smart clothes done superhero style.
Your complete Athos outfit is shorts or capris, with a long-sleeve shirt.
The clothing has sensors in key positions. They measure how intensely your muscles fire, so you can make improvements on your recruitment order or firing intensity.
Updated for 2016, the Polotech shirt combines smart textiles with an external device (called the black box), which collect data then stream it to the companion app on your smartphone.
The data collected is the standard lot, but not from a wrist-worn device, making it more accurate. The black box sits at the bottom of your ribcage but is removable. [Secret: It’s Omsignals’s technology.]
The shirt’s washable, but the box is not. That’s where all the traditional technology lives. If you’re an Android user you will be sore to learn that Ralph Lauren favors (or should we say favours?) iOS devices.
Yeah, you read that correctly. Organic Basics make underwear.
Now they have a Kickstarter to make underwear that doesn’t stick, literally. You can read more about it here, but the basics are straight-forward.
They created pure silver textile, which kills 99.9% of bacteria. No bacteria, no smell. End of story.
It’s no surprise to find out their crowdfunding campaign is successful so far. People want simple solutions. This one won’t track a single metric, but it’s smart clothing.
What if you could pack less? Tough, because climates vary wherever you travel. What if your clothes could adjust to suit the climate?
The Wendu shirt proposes to do just that.
Currently, in Kickstarter, this shirt can adjust temperatures from 35 to 15 degrees Celsius (95 to 60 Fahrenheit) in just a couple of minutes. If they can deliver, there will be nobody with whom to compete.
No health metrics, but total comfort in a t-shirt.
When you can brag four space agencies and three military organizations on your roster, you’ve officially got game.
Leveraging connective textiles and non-visible sensors, Hexoskin collects performance metrics, like heart rate zones, breathing rates, recovery and even VO2Max.
I’ve spent my career downplaying the value of VO2Max because it was just too hard to measure in the field.
To get started, you order a kit. The kit comes with a shirt, devices, USB cable plus an elastic band. You can order more shirts to go with the rest of it.
You’ll need the companion app, which is iOS and Android capable. Sync and measure.
Straight up, James Bond time. The suit comes with buttons that utilize near field communication to send you notifications.
The Welt is a smart belt, positioned well at your waist to track your movement. Wearing the two, you’re wired, but nobody will know it.
Don’t go looking on Amazon for these yet. The link above will take you to Samsung’s site, but you won’t find them there either. These are not available for purchase yet in The West.
How long will your shoes last on one charge? Forever.
That’s the promise of Under Armour’s (UA) Smart Shoes. We covered them in detail here.
In reality, the charge will last as long as the normal life of a pair of running shoes.
During that time they will track your standard fitness data, sync with your MapMyRun application and other wearables from the same company, creating an ecosystem.
If you prefer, you don’t even need to carry your phone to track your GPS data.
Tearing a page out of the Under Armour playbook, Boltt brings an ecosystem of wearable devices to the table. The lineup includes a pair of running shoes, but also a wristband, wireless headset, and a stride sensor.
They partnered with Garmin to develop the technology. Pushing to go farther than UA, Boltt includes real-time coaching in their ecosystem.
It’s an artificial intelligence.
This list is the tip of the iceberg. It’s beyond the imagination of this author to picture what we will cover in five years from now.
There will always be a market for clothing that does nothing but cover our bodies. We can expect clothing that does oh-so-much-more to make its way to clothing racks everywhere.
Don’t be surprised to find smarter clothes in your closet in the next 24 months. Somebody around her has to be the smart one.