What Tech Savvy Athletes Are Wearing Off The Field
Blog posts are written on a daily basis about athletes and their fashion choices (at least in the world of soccer), but it's time the average athlete (or the aspiring one!) gets a headstart on emerging wearable tech that blend functionality with style. Check out the hottest trends in wearable tech, taking wearable, and tech for that matter, to new heights, and stay connected with the latest in fashionable athletic apparel. Who knows, the next blog cycle could feature you.
Oakley Airwave™ Snow Goggles
Finally, an alternative to the ever-conspicuous Google Glass, Oakley's Airwave™ snow goggles provide a functional, athletic-driven upgrade to high-tech glasses. Each pair allows the wearer to see and share a multitude of data, from speed, navigation, jumps, airtime, navigation, and vertical feet covered, all by using GPS integration and Bluetooth connectivity. As far as the display, Airwave™ delivers widescreen graphics via prism technology, perceived to be the size of a 14-inch screen. Airwave™ is essentially a mobile dashboard, where skiers and snowboarders look for it most: in front of their eyes.
Ralph Lauren Polo Tech Smart Shirt
With the debut of this year's U.S. Open, iconic, Americana brand Ralph Lauren hurtled quite the sartorial ace with the premiere of its innovative Polo Tech “smartshirt.” Marking a trend toward high-end, wearable tech, the Polo Tech smartshirt comes equipped with biometric tracking capabilities, meaning it can help athletes perform better, while staying stylish. Ralph Lauren's “Black Box,” designed in conjunction with OMSignal, connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth and records heart-rate and breathing data from the shirt.
OM Strength Fitness Tee
Speaking of OMSignal, the company makes their own line of tech apparel for athletes called OM Strength. The “Fitness Sleeveless” tee uses performance-grade compression for optimal muscle stability and blood-flow, which means more oxygen is sent to your muscles, a must for grueling workouts. Fitted like a “second skin,” OM Strength tees and tanks manage moisture and aid in post-workout recovery, so your muscles are less sore the next day. All gain and no pain? Sign us up.
Sensoria Smart Socks
Until now, runners never imagined their socks could play an important role in their race Sensoria® Fitness, a company specializing in smart socks, makes sure runners and non runners alike receive an accurate depiction of their activity type and level, pace, cadence, stride length, distance, calories burned, and quality of exercise. Each pair of smart socks comes with an anklet that syncs with the accompanying smartphone app that receives data streaming from the socks' sensors. In turn, these sensors detect pressure from various parts of the foot to determine weight distribution—this information is then displayed on the app to help runners correct their form.
Lechal Haptic Feedback Shoes
Haptic feedback is just a fancy term for vibrations, or in this case, vibrating shoes. Lechal is a brand originally founded to create user-friendly wearable tech, with an emphasis on helping the visually impaired navigate. The company realized this technology could also be used to aid athletes by syncing haptic feedback within the shoe to Google Maps from a smartphone. Lechal shoes can be commanded via simple foot movements or gestures from the user, and the app logs all activity, much like standard fitness devices. However, the user will gain more accurate calorie burn measurement because the data comes directly from the source.
The Alert Shirt by Wearable Experiments is essentially the best fan jersey ever. The shirt, another great byproduct of the wearable technology spike, aims to help fans experience the excitement of a sport in the physical world, allowing them to feel what the players feel, live, as it happens during the game. This means simulations of collisions, elevated heart rate, or rush of adrenalin, as though you just played the best game of your life. The Alert Shirt, a collaboration with Foxtel and Che Proximity, operates in the opposite manner of much of the wearable tech featured so far, in that it sends data to the shirt from the smartphone app, instead of vice versa. The Alert Shirt then converts the smartphone data into sensations that “simulate live sports action,” through vibrations.
Another collaboration with Wearable Experiments, this time with THE UNLIMITED MAGAZINE, the NAVIGATE Jacket seeks to help users get around New York City with haptic feedback and LED lighting. The companion app sends turn-by-turn directions directly to the NAVIGATE jacket, allowing the wayfarer to look no further than his or her sleeve to view the instructions. These tech features are tailored into the sleeve in the most unobtrusive way possible, for a jacket with LED lighting and vibrations. The lights indicate how far until the next turn, and the vibrations signify when and where to turn. This jacket may not be ideal during the summer, but for cold-weather runners, getting lost is no longer an option.
Altitude Smart Jacket
The Altitude smart jacket by Aether Apparel is the most tech-savvy piece of outerwear made by the brand, and features functionality ready for the mountain. Schoeller® c_change™ smart fabric adjusts the jacket's heat retention and breathability depending upon outdoor conditions and the body's own aerobic activity, ensuring the wearer will be cool or warm at the appropriate times. The jacket's design itself is ergonomic, built for temperature regulation, extended range of motion, and even heavy powder conditions. This smart jacket's power is all in the fabric.
The Fraunhofer FitnessSHIRT touts itself as a real “high tech” option in a sea of imitators. The German-based FitnessSHIRT is a collaboration with the Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, and promises to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, posture, movement, and respiratory activity through textile electrodes within the fabric. The design is currently being considered for use in the medical community, but athletes could still benefit from this type of integrated data. The shirt could be used to watch out for exhaustion or heart attack, and could be employed by coaches or trainers to keep an eye on their players. Who knew you could find a shirt with your best interests at heart?
AiQ TouchMan Gloves
AiQ Smart Clothing Inc., creator of the TouchMan gloves, is intent upon making wearable tech stylish and functional by incorporating tech-based textiles from partner King's Metal Fiber Technologies. The TouchMan gloves are constructed with a stretchable material for high performance and stainless steel fiber for ultra durability. Conductive yarn completes the design, to maintain comfort and style, and to keep your fingers toasty while you text! The gloves allow the user to use any touch screen device, like your beloved smartphone that powers all these other wearable tech items, without losing precision or exposing your digits to the elements.
T.Ware Hugging Jacket
Even the toughest athlete eventually needs rest, relaxation, and, dare we say, a hug? The T.Jacket by T.Ware introduces a “hugging jacket” that simulates the feeling of a hug via “deep touch pressure.” Like a squeeze machine for humans, the T.Jacket calms and comforts in moments of panic, stress, or anxiety, but we imagine the jacket might get use on many other occasions. You can control the levels of pressure to maximize your hugging experience directly from your smartphone app, and change your quality of life. The T.Jacket also has properties that could aid in occupational therapy for people who have Sensory Processing Difficulties (SPD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Alzheimer's Dementia and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The O-Synce screeneye x sports visor boasts an innovative display that relies on sensors to showcase training data such as heart rate monitoring, speed, distance, coaching tips, and more, directly in your field of vision. With all this data in one view, athletes can train and adjust without stopping to read a smartphone screen or listen to a trainer. The benefits of keeping an eye on your heartrate is that you can make sure to always be within your target heart rate for maximum calorie burn. The visor's display is illuminated via a light collection film within the visor, but all training data can easily be exported to an external computer for further analysis.