Move over wristbands, clothing with built-in technology to track your workouts is the next big things in fitness tracking. About one year ago only a few companies were talking about combining fitness tech and fashion design and now those ideas have sprung to life. Check out the current clothing fitness tech available:
The OMsignal T-shirt features electrodes knitted into the fabric to work as sensors while you exercise. The sensors will detect breathing, heart rate, activity intensity, steps walked and calories burned. The OMsignal T-shirt pairs with a wearable gadget (called a module or little black box) that will communicate your personal metrics to the company’s smartphone app on your iPhone via Bluetooth. So far the company has only launched an iOS app, so Android users interested in the OMsignal shirt will have to wait. The module works with other bio-sensing shirts, too, if you happen to have any.
The shirts come in a variety of styles — from long sleeve, sleeveless and T-shirt, but so far OMsignal is only a men’s line. Women’s shirts will be introduced later this year.
So how do you wash a shirt with sensors? The company says don’t go swimming in it but “if you get caught in light rain, you’ll still get your data. While the shirt itself is machine washable, we ask that you disconnect it from the little black box before throwing in the wash.” The little black box/module is water resistant, so it can get sweaty but it’s not meant to go swimming either.
For the shirt to work, the material needs to be in constant contact with your skin, so check the size chart to make sure it will fit you snugly. You can get a slightly better look at the OMsignal in this video on YouTube (below). The video really attempts to appeal to our egos — “what if you are not meant to run with the crowd?” is a sentiment repeated throughout, but you’ll get a glimpse at the shirt in action.
You can pre-order the shirts along with the sensor on the company’s website. The Regular Routine kit contains two shirts (so you won’t have too much trouble keeping up with laundry if you workout a few times per week) plus the data module for $269.
I’m eager to see what other companies might build-upon this technology. I’d love if my sports bra could send data to MyFitnessPal (or another fitness app I use — I use a couple) and record my heart rate, breathing, and maybe even calories burned.
This Redwood City, CA company makes workout clothing for men and women with all-over sensors to not only detect typical fitness metrics (heart rate, breating rate) but also provide you with detailed information about muscle exertion.
I’m eager to try out the shorts. The fabric is sweat wicking and compressing, plus the shorts will track which muscles you’re using the most and how much exertion you’re putting into a specific activity. The 16 sensors will send this info to the mobile app. The shorts with the core costs $290.
You can pre-order Athos smart workout wear now and it will start shipping this fall.
Intel’s Smart Shirt with AiQ
In late May it was announced that Intel plans to release a smart shirt by partnering with Taiwanese company AiQ.
AiQ Smart Clothing Inc. has a big idea to merge all sorts of textiles (clothing, home wares, etc.) with technology, and its current tech clothing ideas have a lot of useful features. Checking out the website, though, it doesn’t look like AiQ’s items are for purchase just yet but through a partnership with Intel a smart shirt will be available this summer.
AiQ’s original design had sensors made from stainless steel that were embedded in the fabric so you never had to worry about loosing your tracker. However, according to TheNextWeb, the Intel/AiQ shirt will have a small box of electronics that you’ll plug into the shirt when you want to track your metrics, which will be sent to your smartphone via Bluetooth or WiFi.
These smart shirts track heart rate, breathing rate and volume, activity level, steps and cadence. Put on the shirt and connect the tracking device that comes with it. The tracking device fits in a built-in pocket.
This shirt is probably for the fit-tech person with cash to burn or a serious athlete because the price tag of this shirt is very steep — $400 for one shirt and a device.
The Hexoskin can be worn all the time and it’s tight enough to fit under regular street clothes. You can also wear it to bed to track breathing, heart rate and “sleep efficiency” while you rest. You’ll probably want to buy an extra shirt if you plan to wear it to workout, go to the office and then to bed. Extra shirts cost $175 each.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr via Thomas Hawk