Smart Clothes… Could they be the future of wearables?

As we’ve seen in the blogs over the past few weeks, the current market for wearables such as the ‘Apple Watch’, ‘Garmin’ and ‘Fitbit’ products are all fitness trackers that we wear on our wrists. But, is this set to change? Some people within the industry believe that wearables are set to develop into smart clothing!! And if you’re anything like me when I first got wind of this concept, you may be finding it a little tricky to picture this phenomenon of ‘smart clothing’? Let me explain a little further…

Smart clothes are items of clothing we wear embedded with sensors, connected to smartphones. They can relay a variety of health and fitness information to us. For example, ‘Sensoria’ launched an item of smart clothing: a running sock that can track runs better than a fitness tracker on the wrist. It has three pressure sensors embedded into the socks to track pace, distance, and time. ‘Sensoria’ is able to analyse the data and give you tips on how to improve your runs as well as advice on how to avoid injury. If you think that’s impressive, then listen to this…‘Athos’ has developed full body smart clothes! They have the ability to track which muscles are being utilised the most within a training session. This could be useful if you would like to focus on training a certain muscle group or area. And if you’re shaking your head in disbelief at that, let me take you another step further… The Scottish knitwear brand, ‘Lyle & Scott’, introduced the ‘NFC Jacket’ last year. When wearing this jacket, it has the ability to pay for items you wish to purchase!

A few people have asked me whether smart clothing feels any different to normal clothing. The answer is that the majority of smart clothing looks, and feels, similar to normal clothing. Sensors are embedded within the fabric, they’re not obvious, heavy or clumpy, and so you don’t need to make any attempt to hide the technology in public.

“I like to say wearables are no longer just smart, but they’re truly intelligent. Not too long ago, we simply wore devices on our wrists that just told us how many steps we took or how many calories we burned,” says Florian Miguet, CEO and founder of Clim8, an intelligent thermal clothing solutions company. “But it was up to us to decipher how best to interpret and respond to that data. It was a one-way conversation”… [Now, with smart clothing], “we can weave tiny sensors into our clothing that we don’t even realise are there. And better yet, those sensors can accurately read our bodies and interact with digital tools on our phones. That means our phones and our shirts are always communicating to interpret when and how to regulate our body temperature.”

Pretty incredible technology don’t you think?!