Clothing connected to your smartphone, smart watch and maybe even your Alexa or Google Home are on the rise. But are they practical?
Smart clothing is starting to hit the market in a big way and you can expect to see a lot of it in the fitness world. So what is smart clothing anyway? Basically, it’s clothes that have sensors embedded in them somewhere and sometimes small devices that vibrate based on how you move or a direction you take. There have been some of these smart clothes on the market for several years and we featured some last year. Now we’re seeing more start to hit the market.
Google worked with Levi’s a few years ago to make the “commuter” trucker jacket for urban commuters. Now they’re releasing a backpack with fashion brand Saint Laurent that has a small computer and sensors in the left strap. Using hand gestures you can get weather and commuting information on your phone and it will track things like footsteps and provide feedback for better routes to take. Google created a brand called Jacquard for these small devices. So expect to see more connected clothing coming from Google.
Then there’s the smart yoga pants from Wearable X that uses gentle vibrations to help guide your movements. It has wires embedded in the pants connected to a small computer that syncs with your smartphone via an app. They claim a better yoga experience, but that would really be up to you!
Then there’s Spinali Design of France that makes a bikini and other swimsuits that monitors UV levels. That can certainly be of help for long days in the sun to keep you protected. There are other swimsuits that are for serious athletic swimmers that Adidas has been working on.
Athos is a California brand that is focused on more serious athletes with their smart clothing. The embedded sensors track your performance over time and can help improve your performance and workouts.
Slowly, connected clothing is seeping into the market, but for now it remains mostly for fitness and sports applications. Some may think a lot of this is just a fad and well, some clothing is, but some really can help improve performance. If you want those smart yoga pants, you’ll certainly be a trendsetter!
More Inspiration: You might find this article on whether to choose a fitness tracker or smart watch helpful too!
Author: Giles Crouch is the group publisher for Human Media, the parent brand for Optimyz Magazine. He is also a design anthropologist focused on the intersection of humans and people. He occasionally writes articles for Optimyz as well.