Jane’s smart, sassy and on her way to the gym. Her fitness-wear clings softly, in modest tones of blue and gray. She tucks her pastel pink and gray clutch under one arm, while throwing her gym bag over her shoulder. Her bracelet gemstone catches the gleam of the sun as she starts toward the gym doors.
John walks into a business meeting and slightly adjusts his cuff, while instantly distributing his contact information to everyone in the room and silencing his phone. Taking a seat to the side of the room, he gives a nod to everyone else as he waits for the meeting to begin.
Why such an interest in these two, and what they are wearing? Their clothes are part of the future of smart wearables – items that will multi-function as both clothing and technology. Her Lululemon look-alikes are actually Samsung’s Smart Suit separates. This outfit measures things like heart rate, stance, and body-fat levels while she works out. That cute clutch is a solar powered charging station for her tablet or cell phone. Her bracelet, not jewelry, hides a powerful processor, keeping track of her fitness activities and goals.
Connecting Our Clothes – The Game Players
Samsung is hoping to come out on top of the wearables playing field. The Samsung Smart Suit Body Compass is the prodigy; a tank top and athletic pants, that provide more than just fashion. The sportswear hides sensors woven directly into the fabric, which are then powered by a small processor and battery, which looks like a small button on the front. With the Body Compass app, you can get a real-time analysis of your workout, on your device to help you improve your form, and even count your reps.
Samsung isn’t just into the fitness game, but into wearables for everyone, everyday. The Samsung Welt is an auto adjustable belt, giving guys a bit more room after a big meal. However, one of the more polished and innovative uses of wearables for all is the Samsung Slim Sol bag. It’s clever use of design of the solar panels, keeps a girls’ tablet or phone charged on the go. Samsung’s ability to incorporate technology seamlessly into today’s fashion trends will keep them on top of the playing field.
Project Jacquard is the clothing and technology venture of Google. Google has also found a way to weave technology directly into fabric, and is now dedicated to partnering with Levi’s to work on smart wearables. Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) division not only integrated electronics into fabric they created a wearable platform. The end result is a smart technology fabric that can be fashioned into any clothing design.
Currently the applications are limited to a touchpad in which you can tap or swipe, but it can be integrated into virtually any area of a piece of clothing. It still requires a chip and battery to work, and this can be incorporated inside a small button or chip. Its uses are as limitless our imaginations; your clothing can download and include applications of your choosing.
Misfit – We are all aware of fitness trackers, but this fitness tracker all but disappears behind sparkling Swarovski jewels. A partnership between the two companies, Swarovski and Misfit has produced the Misfit Swarovski Shine. This fitness tracker is outshining all others with its ability to bring the same fitness and sleeping tracking as well as other health monitoring activities to you all disguised as a crystal, with a variety of wearable bands, bracelets, and necklaces.
Misfit’s tracking applications are comprehensive and simple to use. You can get reports on your daily, weekly, or monthly activity, with graphics and more. It also indicates how much sleep you’ve had, and the stages of sleep as well.
Under Armour is joining the next generation of wearables with their UA Speedform Gemini 2, which will be available February 29. The shoes will retail for about $150 and will have the ability to not only track the distance traveled and calories burned but can map out and track where you are going.
How Much Feedback Do We Need?
Where does all this leave us?
Our future is a world where we will be tethered to devices that are constantly reading our biological functions and activities. Hyper-connectivity is a trend that we see growing exponentially, and we are busy recording and broadcasting to the world every move and breath that we make. As we connect, do we stop and ask ourselves is there a purpose? What purpose is there to shouting out on social media how many steps we took in a day? Are we connecting to simply connect? What of the expanding redundancy of measuring our heart rate with multiple items of clothing at once? A simple wearable fitness device makes sense, but how will the wearables of the future play a part?
“The once-science-fiction notion of hyper-connectivity – where we are all constantly connected to social networks and other bubbling streams of digital data – has rapidly become a widespread reality.” Geoff Mulgan
It has long been held that the unexamined life is not worth living. Profound as that statement its, the modern version is that the unrecorded life is not worth living. The question that presents itself with all the time spent looking at apps and recording our every breath is: is the unlived life worth recording?
“We are too connected. There is noise in our heads all the time.” Isabel Allende
By Tina Rose