Fitness trackers have become quite popular now that healthy lifestyle is all the rage. Famous fashion designer Ralph Lauren and OMsignal, a start-up in Motreal. teamed up to create a new type of fitness tracker – a T-shirt. Equipped with built-in sensors the shirt sends data to iPhone or iPad while also having moisture-wicking, anti-microbial qualities of sports clothing.
Fitness Tracking T-Shirt Debuts At U.S. Open
As opposed to conventional fitness tracking wristbands that only measure steps, calories, and sleep hours, the T-shirt can measure heart rate and heart rate variability, breathing rate and depth, steps, activity intensity, and calories burned thanks to a small tracking module that is fixed at the ribcage. The module collects and transfers the information to a smartphone device. The shirt is also created seamless for maximum comfort and compression element aids blood flow improving muscle recovery post-workout.
OMsignal describe the technology behind ‘connected clothing’ or Biometric Smartwear, as they call it, as ‘unique software controlled precision-engineered technology’, which makes us wonder about its precision, which is an issue with other fitness trackers that measure movements with their accelerometers, which react to speed or change of movement. Research from Iowa State University showed that some of such devices have an error rating of as much as 23.5% (Basis Band; The BodyMedia FIT wristband has the least error rating of 9.3% of all the tested models, which included Nike FuelBand SE with 13% rate).
The T-shirts too rely on accelerometer and a gyroscope, which measures orientation and position of a body, but it’s definitely the sensors that measure breathing that make the shirt stand out as it can give a more definite picture ona an activity intensity.
A machine-washable shirt already comes in sleeveless and short-sleeved options. A tracking module can be removed when washing the shirt or clipped to another biometric T-shirt. The
The creators heavily emphasize the fact that their fitness tracker is not a wristband but a wearable piece of technology. Apparel is an integral part of our lives, according to David Lauren, Ralph Lauren executive vice president for advertising, marketing and corporate communications. It’s easier to forget to wear a wristband, argues OMsignal. We are interested to see where this new bometric smartwear takes the fitness tracker business, which earned $1.4 billion last year and is estimated to grow by $19 billion by 2018.