Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the smart wearables market is only about bracelets, smart watches or visors, like Google Glass. The most exciting, practical work in the industry is actually happening in fashion and fitness with real clothes like hoodies, shirts, socks and packs.
Read on to find real-life examples of these handy wearable clothes and where you can find them.
6 Smart Wearables to Keep You Connected
These six pieces of clothing are great to keep people connected online, which helps in various ways.
Texting Hoodie: Ready for a sweatshirt that makes texting even easier? Check out SmartHoodie, a project by Alina Balean and Rucha Patwardhan. This hoodie acts like its own little texting device, with its own telephone number and independent programming thanks to an Arduino circuit board. Different movements in the sweater allow you to initiate different commands, from texting a specific person to posting on Facebook. If this sounds interesting, check out their website for more information, including ordering details.
Smart Compression Shirts: Compression shirts are used for workouts and typically come with basics like moisture wicking, synthetic fabrics. However, the company Athos has gone a step further and added sensors at various points on the shirt (as well as a pair of compression pants, if desired). The tight fit allows these sensors to gauge muscle activity, heart rate and breathing. There’s a total of 18 sensors in the shirt alone, and they all connect in the Athos app, which uses the data to provide workout advice, target weaknesses, and create workout programs to meet specific goals. It’s a bit more oriented to men than women, but the smart wearables are available for both genders. You can reserve the shirt or pants on their website.
Smart Bras: How do you make a bra smart? Well, Sensoria Fitness has a few ideas, especially when it comes to a smart sports bra. For $150 you can get a sports bra with embedded textile sensors (more comfortable than plastic or metal options, obviously) and a heart rate monitor so you can track your workouts more accurately without messing around with more annoying sensors. The bra connects (wirelessly) to a number of different smartphone apps including Strava, MapMyRun and Runkeeper, and comes with a battery that lasts more than 8 months with one charge.
Fitness Socks: These fitness socks also come from Sensoria, which is doing a lot of work in the smart fitness sector. These socks, designed especially for running, but wearable for all occasions, have textile sensor bands running around the sock, including the bottom. Snap an anklet (the only awkward part of the invention) at the top of the sock, and the pair can help track your cadence, foot landing techniques, speed, steps, and so forth, all through a dedicated mobile app. This is a great option for running fans or those who want to work on their running posture over time. The sock bundle starts at $199, with the anklet included.
Charging Pants: You know where your phone spends a lot of time? In your pants. This basic fact inspired Adrien Sauvage, with some help from Microsoft, to design a pair of pants that can charge your cell phone while you wear them. The secret behind these smart wearables is a charging plate that moves electrical energy into a specific charging pants pocket. Put your phone in the pocket and it gets charged up when you are out and about. Of course, there are some limitations. First, the pants only work with Nokia Lumia devices, not every smartphone. Second, retail prices are expected to be well over $340, so they are made for deeper pockets. However, the pants are encouraging as a sign that more consumer-friendly models will eventually hit shelves as well.
Drum Pants: Drum pants are exactly what they sound like, and while not precisely wearable clothing, the list didn’t feel complete within mentioning them. Essentially, Drumpants is a kit that you can install in an average pair of jeans and shoes. They turn your pants into a walking drum set, allow you to lay down some beats just by, well, drumming on your pants and tapping your feet. There’s an accompanying app you can use to customize it with more than 100 different sounds, too. Zany? Absolutely, but talk about a unique gift for a friend or yourself.
Is it time to update your wardrobe with some of these great smart wearables?