What do you get when you combine country-club sports with high fashion and machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity? Ralph Lauren's new "high-performance, fashion-forward Polo Tech shirt," making its debut at the US Open this week.
The polo comes in black, with Ralph's signature polo player logo in yellow, but more importantly has a conductive thread of sensors knitted into it that read biological and physiological information on the wearer. The technology, powered by Canadian company OMsignal, uses an accelerometer and gyroscope to collect data on the wearer's movement, direction, vitals and even stress level when a ball comes flying across the court.
This data is then transmitted via Bluetooth to the cloud, where it is stored and analyzed, producing information on the user's heartbeat, respiration, stress level, energy output and other activity-related stats, viewable from a mobile app.
Not Just a Fashion Statement
Marcos Giron shows off the new $200 Polo Tech, which uses sensors and a removable electronics pack to track all of an athlete's vitals... and a tight, stretchable knit to show off all of the athlete's six pack.
The $200 Polo Tech shirt will be worn by several ball boys during the US Open, as well as by singles player Marcos Giron, but OMsignal sees applications for helping everyday athletes understand their bodies and improve their performance. Check out the following video to see the shirt -- and Giron -- in action.
This falls into the category of M2M apps that can be both useful and pretty cool. It also proves the point that anything that can be connected, will be -- whether by cellular, Bluetooth or another connectivity standard. We're not just talking devices and smartwatches, but your own clothing.
It's not bulky, obvious or outrageously expensive, either; it's simply embedded and running in the background. That's the kind of thing that can get everyone, not just tech geeks or super athletes, excited about the Internet of Things.
Re: Skeptical I am with you MendyK...the news is rife with the headline that most consumers abandon wearables within 6 months etc (just search wearables abandoned). The quantified life is very appealing to some but to most it becomes overhead. A pedometer is an easy gadget to use and will get the average person moving. So will an alarm to wake you in the morning. So at the end of the day, it becomes an expensive T-shirt that many will launder once, fold once and then shelve. Others will adopt it.
kq4ym, User Rank: Light Sabre 8/26/2014 | 8:44:26 AM
Re: Skeptical I'll venture that the shirts, if combined with an app to lose weight might be a best seller to lots of us overweight and obese folks. As two-thirds of the world now fit that category, there's lots of folks out there who will at least try anything, even at $200 a pop.
mendyk, User Rank: Light Sabre 8/25/2014 | 4:09:22 PM
Re: fragmentation As someone who is now temporarily immersed in a "quantified lifestyle" program, I can say without hesitation that it's a depressing way to live. But to that point, there is a huge and important application for wearables -- in healthcare programs.
Tech and media companies are still worst performers in diversity at the executive level, and their female representation is far below what the pipeline suggests it could be, McKinsey finds in its latest diversity report.
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