In the wearable world, it seems like the Apple Watch somewhat dominates the conversation. Yes, we all know how incredible it is; we are all aware how fitness trackers and notification gadgets are changing the way we regulate our personal lives. But one area of wearable technology that seems to get less coverage is wearable fashion.
Thanks to incredible advancements in flexible technology from the likes of FlexEnable (watch this short video for more information on how their breakthroughs are shaping the industry), we now have the capacity to weave our wearables into the fibres of our clothing.
Here are just a few examples of garments bringing together the best of tech and style.
Image source: FlexEnable
Wearable outerwear turns your coat into a useful tool: Tommy Hilfiger’s charging jackets are fitted on the back with 7-10 small solar panels that power a battery, which then powers your smartphone. You can also detach the panels if you’re at 100 percent and want that ‘normal coat’ look.
Another smart piece of outerwear is We:eX’s ‘Navigate’ jacket, which uses subtle vibrations on the sleeves to indicate when you need to turn left for right. The thinking behind this is that we spend so much time hunched over our phones for directions that we often miss what’s happening around us. This way, you can plug in your destination via the corresponding Navigate app, put your device away and walk with your eyes lifted.
Image source: Pixabay
The next generation of fitness wearables aren’t bracelets, watches or wristbands: they’re shirts. OMSignal’s biometric smart shirt measures heart rate, breathing and movements, and feeds the data back to the wearer’s smartphone via Bluetooth to calculate calories burned, workout intensity and other metrics.
Ralph Lauren has also developed their own version: the PoloTech Shirt. According to the product description, ‘silver fibers woven directly into the fabric read heart rate and breathing depth and balance, as well as other key metrics, which are streamed to your device via a detachable, Bluetooth-enabled black box.’
Breast cancer sports bra
Image source: Pixabay
Cyrcadia Health has been working on a sports bra that could help screen for breast cancer. Their iTBra is embedded with thermodynamic sensors that track temperature fluctuations and map the wearer’s circadian rhythms to detect any of the warning signs. Although this product is still in its infancy, initial tests showed that the iTBra was 87 percent accurate when it came to correlating tumours with cancer. With refinement this garment could greatly affect the healthcare industry.
CuteCircuit’s Twitter dress (Image source: LadyGeekTV via Flickr Creative Commons)
We now have the ability to ‘wear’ social media: CuteCircuit has designed the world’s first Twitter Dress. Fitted out with MicroLEDs that display tweets in real time, this elegant evening gown was worn by Nicole Scherzinger at EE’s launch party to celebrate their 4G mobile network in the UK. To see the dress in action, click here.
GER Mood Sweater (image source: Flickr Creative Commons)
Sensoree, a San Francisco-based tech company that promotes externalised intimacy (‘extimacy’), has developed a jumper that changes colour based on your mood. Their GER Mood Sweater has LEDs woven into the fabric around the collar that illuminate based on the wearer’s excitement levels. The garment tracks these levels through galvantic extimacy responders (GER) that interpret electric currents produced by chemical actions in the skin.