A pair of shorts that can help predict if you’ll soon have an injury? Or how about a shirt that tracks your heart rate? These smart apparel concepts could soon be commonplace, with companies like Apple, Google and Samsung investing in the development of high-tech textiles that incorporate FitBit-type monitoring into fabrics.
Brooklyn-based start-up Nextiles is another player in the market. Backed by the National Science Foundation, Nextiles recently launched its patented smart fabric, a machine-washable textile that has circuitry, which tracks biometric data, built into it. As reported in the Washington Post, the first collection focuses on sportswear and is designed to measure metrics such as velocity and momentum (that is, metrics existing wearable devices are unable to measure). It includes a arm and knee sleeve, which measure changes in several data points. By tracking the data, the insights can be used to help predict strain and injuries.
While the current application is for athletes, in the future, though, the goal is to incorporate these high-tech fabrics into everyday clothing for the general public, so as to replace the wearable on your wrist. And other tech giants are developing smart apparel as well: earlier this year, Apple patented smart fabric-based buttons that could be used as controls for Apple products such as your Apple Watch, iPhone or MacBook. Google launched its smart fabric division back in 2015, Project Jacquard.
For more about Project Jacquard’s first product launch with a global apparel brand, and the exciting developments being made in smart fabric (including potential uses for smart fabric in the future), visit the Washington Post article here.