Wearable tech is probably the next big thing. But, until now, it’s all been fairly geeky. Now that fashion juggernaut Ralph Lauren has entered the fray, it’s making the move from the realm of the fitness nerd into the mainstream.
Until now, most wearable tech has been in the realm of geeky fashion accessory. We’ve seen plenty of wearable tech that takes the form of watches, wristbands, chest straps and glasses. But the Ralph Lauren Polo Tech smart shirt is actually a smart garment with sensors built into the actual shirt.
The Polo Tech is a form-fitting compression shirt – the kind really well built individuals can wear in public but mere mortals like me would only wear under a more flattering t-shirt. It uses biometric technology from OMSignal and delivers biometric data such as breathing and heart rate to a Bluetooth-connected smartphone or tablet instantaneously.
The idea is sound although linking to a smartphone is a very consumer-focussed move. If I was using the Polo Tech, I’d prefer it fed the output to a smart-watch or some other device that I could easily look at while training with an option to send data to a smartphone later for more detailed analysis.
According to the video from Ralph Lauren, the Polo Tech is made from “bio-sensing silver fibres” and the app prompts you to work harder or manage your workload so that you get the most from training.
There is a small sensor device that’s attached to the side of the shirt so it’s not quite as integrated as I’d imagine. I’d really like a shirt that had all the sensors and transmitters integrated into the short. But then again, I’d probably need a few different Polo Tech shirts like a t-shirt, long sleeve shirt and a tank top. Perhaps we’ll see those in the fullness of time.
Pricing and availability to the general public have not yet been announced.