Smart clothing started taking its first tentative baby steps in 2015 and while it’s not quite gone mainstream just yet, more companies are starting to play around with the concept of connected garments.
Much more than strapping gadgets to our wrists, faces, ears and feet, smart clothing can constantly track our heart rate, monitor our emotions and even pay for our Starbucks. All without grabbing a phone or even tapping a smartwatch screen.
Here are the best tech garments we’ve seen so far that you can buy now and ones that are on the way.
Nadi X yoga pants
Yoga can be difficult, especially if you’re just beginning. How do you move your body? How long do you hold your positions? If you don’t have a good instructor, or if you try to do it yourself, you could find yourself in over your head. Sydney-based startup Wearable X’s Nadi X pants, however, want to solve that.
The fitness pants come with built-in haptic vibrations that gently pulse at the hips, knees and ankles to encourage you to move and/or hold positions. It syncs up via Bluetooth to your phone and, through the companion app, gives you additional feedback. It comes in four sizes – XS, S, M, L – and four styles – Midnight, Midnight with black, Black/White with mesh and Navy/Gray with mesh. Ships in August 2017.
Polar Team Pro Shirt
The GPS sports watch maker is dabbling in the world of the smart clothing for the first time with this smart compression shirt that’s definitely for serious athletes.
With heart rate capture points on the front and a pocket on the back for a GPS sensor, users will be able to track motion and heart rate metrics in real time. Integration with Polar’s Team Pro system means you can broadcast live training data letting athletes and coaches monitor condition and fitness levels.
Supa Powered Sports bra
Sabine Seymour’s new fashion tech startup, Supa, mashes up neon, a heart rate sensor and AI to give you a smart bra with a ton of personality. It’s water resistant and syncs to the Supa.AI app via Bluetooth. It’ll use “invisible biometric sensors” and AI to not only keep track of workouts, but track things like UV levels, too.
You can get the Supa in three sizes – small, medium and large – and it comes in three distinct styles. There’s the Supa heavy stripes, a blue-tinted mix and the very colorful ‘colors’. You can pick up the bra for about $120, but you’ll also need to get the Supa Reactor to actually keep track of your health data.
$120 (Supa Bra) / $60 (Supa Reactor), shop.supa.ai
Spinali Design smart bikini
This French fashion tech company has been busy creating connected clothing including jeans, dresses and bikinis.
The Neviano UV Protect swimsuit collection is equipped with a removable medallion-style waterproof sensor that aims to prevent you from staying too long in the sun.
Once you’ve entered your skin type in the companion iOS or Android smartphone app, it’ll continuously monitor the temperature throughout the day and will send out warnings when it’s time to apply some more sunscreen or get into the shade.
From $184, spinali-design.com
From the makers of the Lumo Lift posture tracker, these smart running shorts and capris pack in a sensor that can monitor a host of metrics including cadence, ground contact time, pelvic rotation and stride length. The smart running gear supports real time coaching with feedback sent through to your headphones to help improve running form and reduce the chances of injury.
There’s no change on the battery front either, giving you an impressive one month off a single charge. If you don’t want to buy the shorts, there’s also the Lumo Run sensor that can smarten up your current running kit.
Owlet Smart Sock 2
The second generation Owlet Smart Sock has all the features you know and love from the original. It uses the same pulse oximetry technology used in hospitals to monitor the little one’s heart rate to make sure his or her sleeping and breathing has been uninterrupted. It also comes in three sizes, charges via a base station and syncs to your iPhone or Android phone to deliver data in real-time.
New additions include improved Bluetooth range, up to 100 feet, and better placed sensors so that there are less false notifications. It’ll also work with Owlet’s new Connected Care platform, which will help you identify potential health issues like sleep irregularities, RSV, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, chronic lung disorders and heart defects.
Wareable verdict:Owlet Smart Sock 2 review
AIO smart sleeve
Despite a failed Kickstarter campaign, Komodo Technologies still found a way to launch its compression sleeve that uses electrocardiogram (ECG) technology to monitor heart rate activity.
Aside from offering accurate heart rate data, it monitor sleep, workout intensity and is available in two different models. It also has sensors on board to monitor body temperature, air quality and UV rays.