You’ve heard of smart homes, smart devices, and smart spaces, but have you ever heard of “smart clothes”?
The concept may not seem as far-fetched as it sounds. In fact, you may already be wearing a piece of smart clothing if you’ve got an Apple Watch on your wrist.
And that’s the key to smart clothes – they don’t look like tech. What started in the fitness world with fitness trackers is expanding into everyday life. While this industry is in its early stages and continues to evolve (remember Google Glass?), using technology you wear to improve your well-being is the latest digital trend to help you live smarter.
While most of the smart clothes we think of is small and easily concealed – like the array of stylish fitness tracking jewelry by Ringly – designers are increasingly creating daily clothes with smart technology, from pajamas that help your body recover from workouts to bikinis that measure UV levels.
And it’s not just startups that are creating smart clothes. Ralph Lauren has designed the PoloTech shirt, Samsung has built a smart suit, and Google’s Project Jacquard has teamed up with Levi’s to create an urban bike-commuter jacket made of conductive yarns. It makes every person who wears it feel like James Bond.
For fitness purposes, smart socks make a lot of sense. Products like the Sensoria Fitness Sock use textile pressure sensors to more accurately record your running cadence, pace and even your foot strikes.
But enterprising inventors are creating even smarter ways to use smart sock technology. For instance, the Owlet Smart Sock 2 is a sock you can put on your baby’s foot to track heart rate and oxygen levels.
While you may giggle at the thought of technology-filled underwear, this type of wearable actually makes a lot of sense. You may have heard of the Internet story about 18-year old Julian Rios Cantu, who invented a prototype bra with 200 sensors to spot the early signs of breast cancer. He was inspired by his own mother, who underwent a double mastectomy. This is an inventive example of smart underwear at work.
Not only do people wear underwear every day, but it’s the one piece of clothing that fits snuggly onto your skin, allowing it to get the most accurate vitals. In fact, monitoring your heart rate, stress levels and activity is actually less accurate on your wrist and more accurate on your bra, hip, or even your heels.
What else do innovative designers have up their sleeves? Only time will tell. But the future of connective clothing has never looked brighter.
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