What is it? 

Smart Clothing is a range of activewear for men and womenit is essentially clothing items that have been enhanced with technology such as sensors and hardware to function in a way that no other clothing would. Many pieces of smart clothing require the individual to connect up to an app via Bluetooth or WIFI. The purpose of smart clothing is to monitor the person’s physical condition, usually while exercising, to track and monitor data such as pulse, temperature, heart rate, muscle strength, etc. However, more recently, various brands and companies have been creating smart wear clothing that is not for the purpose of the exercise. For example, Snapchat brought out glasses that allow the user to take high-quality photos and videos.  

Benefits 

Comfortable:  

A lot of people don’t like the idea of wearing anything uncomfortable when exercising and you can understand why; you want your exercising session to be as enjoyable (as possible) and you do not want anything getting in your way or distracting you. People have reported feeling uncomfortable wearing trackers such as Fitbit on their wrist, as it often gets very sweaty underneath or becomes too tight when swelling occurs from working out. This is why smart clothing is so effective- there are so many different forms of smart clothing that there is something to suit everyone. The Athos or Hexoskin shirt just looks like any other shirt, meaning you are comfortable and are not required to put anything extra on your body, you just wear it how you would your everyday clothes. The same as the Lumo Run smart running shorts which have been designed to just appear and feel like an ordinary pair of shorts or the OMsignal OMbra which has been carefully created to ensure it gives the same comfort and support as a regular sports bra.  

Improved data accuracy:  

For people wishing to track things like steps, accuracy is a big deal, as what’s the point if the number you are given at the end is not an accurate representation of your progress? Some of the trackers that are available today, such as those you wear on your wrist, actually count steps even when the person is moving their arm up and down- as the device thinks the person is walking or running. Therefore, this is not accurate enough. Smart clothing companies have been continuously working on this and have found that to make the data accurate, you need to move the sensors closer to the exact area it is required to monitor. The majority of smart shirts use a reliable heart rate monitor and the shorts are equipped with muscle motion sensors that monitor the part of the body that does the most moving when you are running. One of the things that make smart clothing so effective is that due to increasing the area being monitored, the richer you are allowing the biometric data to be.  

Various purposes:  

While we immediately think of those who wish to complete workouts when we hear about this sort of thing, Smart Clothing could actually have many other uses that could become so important. For example, Bloomer Tech’s heart disease detecting smart bra could become very effective for monitoring the health of patients in hospitals but also people at home. The Owlet Smart Sock is able to monitor babies’ pulse and heart rate, this could be used in hospitals when a child is taken ill, but also for parents to be reassured that their baby is breathing and their sleep has been uninterrupted. 

Lorraine
Author: Lorraine

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