It’s official – we have peaked with so called “smart” clothes.
In addition to the near ubiquitous running watch, it’s now possible to deck yourself out in more sensor-laden gear than you could imagine.
Let’s go from head to toe.
LifeBEAM (http://life-beam.com/) makes a Smart Hat. It provides three biometric measures: heart rate, calorie consumption, and cadence/steps.
To be honest – and I haven’t tried the Smart Hat – I can get all of this from my running watch so I’m not sure what a US$99 cap would bring to the party. Besides, like to wear different caps or headbands (I’m a fan of HeadSox) so I’d need several caps.
On the upside, for cyclists it does have ANT compatibility so it would work with many cycling computers.
I’ve reviewed the OMSignal smart shirt and, since that first review, the developers have improved the product through firmware updates to their hardware and their app.
Again, I like to run in different gear depending on the weather, type of run and mood. Some days I prefer to wear bright colours, others I prefer darker. And I dress differently for long and short runs – on a short run, I’ll sometimes wear cross training gear or whatever t-shirt is handy – particularly if it’s wash day!.
So, this category is not for me but it makes sense. Many heart rate chest straps can cause chafing so integrating the sensor into a sports bra can be helpful.
Not surprisingly, OMSignal has adapted their tech to this category with the OMbra, which will be available in the first half of 2016. And Sensoria Fitness has a sports bra that integrates with their smart socks.
Lumo Run has integrated a sensor band into the waist band of their running shorts. Developed in collaboration with leading sports biomechanics experts at Loughborough University in the UK, The Lumo Run delivers some interesting data. Although cadence, bounce, ground contact time and stride length can either me measured or calculated with some sport watches (the Garmin Forerunner 620 is a good example of a mid to high-end watch that does this), braking and pelvic rotation measures are pretty handy for those trying to extract maximum value from their running effort.
I’m wondering how hard it would be to slip that sensor into the band of my existing shorts.
The full price for the Lumo Run shorts is US$149 for men, The ladies version comes in capris for an extra US$20. There’s an early bird offer at the moment that discounts the full price by US$50.
Yep – even your socks can be smart!.
Sensoria Fitness has smart socks. The socks have sensors on the bottom that transmit data to an anklet that uses Bluetooth to communicate with your smartphone.
Their kit comes with a heart rate monitor and t-shirt for the boys or sports bra for the girls that delivers a bunch of information including what part of your foot is bearing the impact, heart rate, cadence and foot contact time.
At the moment, you need to carry your smartphone with you in order to record the data.
Almost every major sports footwear manufacturer on the planet is researching the use of sensors in shoes. For some time, both Adidas (with the miCoach speed cell) and Nike (with the Nike+ Sports Kit) have modules that are inserted into their shoes although Under Armour announced some smart running shoes, the “record equipped” Gemini 2, at CES in January 2016. These are part of their new Healthbox product range that includes scales, fitness bands and other accessories.
Last year, Chinese company Xiaomi showed off some shoes that deliver data to a compatible app using integrated sensors.