2012 will see hyper activity in research and development of smart shirts for sports/fitness apparel – at least this is my view on the ‘killer application’ in wearable tech this year.
Smart shirts, having textile sensors integrated that pick up the electrical signals generated by muscle activity like heart rate form the heart muscle or respiration from the lung activity and many more.
The electrical signals are transmitted to devices that record, process, analyze and visualize them for the purpose of monitoring and assessing ones fitness and performance.
Integrating sensory functions into clothing makes sense as it does take away the need of wiring up before starting a workout. Smart sensing apparel can even monitor activities over the whole day if wanted to check out the excitement spikes coming up in heated debates in the office.
A group of students from from Northeastern University in Boston designed the SQUID Shirt, an activity monitoring shirt that places the electrodes around the shirt in a form factor resembling squid tentacles.
The SQUID Shirt is designed to ‘talk’ with Android phones via an App that processes and visually present the activity data.
According to the Northeastern press release the SQUID could be in the market in 2-3 years which seems to me a rather long timeline considering that most if not all elements used to create the SQUID shirt functionality is fairly advanced developed and ready to move into into the consumer market.