Wearable technology has been implemented into a seemingly endless array of smart watches, smart bands and other wearable accessories for remote tracking. However, one apparel giant is ready to take the next step, bringing wearable technology to clothing. That’s where Ralph Lauren’s newest creation comes in, which requires no additional accessories.
Ralph Lauren has seemingly always been on the cutting edge of innovation between apparel and technology, debuting ski jackets with MP3 players built into them in the mid-90s for the U.S. Olympic team. While the jackets came and went with little fanfare, their newest creation raises the bar for wearable technology.
No longer do you need a bracelet, watch, or accessory to capture your body’s statistics. This week, in conjunction with tennis’ U.S. Open, the New England based apparel giant has introduced a new lightweight nylon t-shirt that can record heart rate, breathing, and stress levels.
Ball boys will be the first to model these new shirts as they race up and down the court to retrieve balls hit into the net or out of bounds. Leaders at Ralph Lauren will be monitoring the ball boys to show off the effectiveness of this new technology.
The apparel market is a new one for wearable technology, but it appears that it is the next target for implementation. Microchips woven into the nylon fabric blend in on the form-fitting shirt. It works similarly to a fitness-based armband, but all that technology is intertwined into the fabric of the shirt. The information is then synced to a smartphone app which complements the shirt, for an instantaneous reading. The shirts main sensors are located in a tiny black box which company representatives indicate will decrease in size in future designs of the cutting edge t-shirt.
Ralph Lauren has plans to include this technology in dress shirts that will be released later in 2014. Company representatives did not explain how people in dress shirts would use this technology because consumers tend not to work out in their nicest clothes. It is entirely possible that it could be used to monitor how the body reacts to different situations in the workplace. While we can speculate about the uses for wearable technology, there seems to be more and more uses for it every day.