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Smart Clothing: The Next Wave In Wearables

Smart Clothing: The Next Wave In Wearables
by Nick Langston on 11-23-2015 at 4:00 pm

Today, it’s easier than ever to conceive a new product, prototype it, perfect it for mass production and successfully market it to an ever widening audience.

Accelerators and Incubators have sprouted up specifically to enable hardware startups and help them navigate the world of contract manufacturing and supply chain logistics. Wearable device startups in particular have benefitted tremendously from this new ecosystem.

Within this wave of development lies an even more exciting trend. Among the Fitbits and Pebbles, Neumitras and Glamorskys there is a wave of truly wearable startups emerging.

OmSignal, Sensilk, Athos, Sensoria and others are part of a generation of smart clothing startups that seek to provide a link between wearable technology and apparel. Even industry giants like Adidas, Nike and UnderArmour want to play a role.

Now, one of the most valuable companies in the world has also announced that it too, wants to enable the wearable future.

On Friday, May 29th Google announced Project Jacquard. At the core of this technology is a simple concept: use textiles as a platform for device interaction.

All of these companies are on a journey that begins with sensing: heart rate, breathing, activity, temperature and touch. The sensed information tells us about our favorite subject – ourselves. Google takes this a step further by looking at textiles as the input device for real-time interaction with our devices or even our environment.

The opportunity for textile based sensing is a Big Data dream come true. We are in physical contact with textiles most of every day, and most of our lives. What vehicle could be better for biometric sensing? Imagine all that we can learn about ourselves and our habits if the textiles we touch daily were measuring what we’re doing and feeling.

Smart clothing for athletics are an easy fit. Shirts, shoes and shorts that can quantify the value of a workout and deliver real time performance information to our smartphones have obvious value to dedicated athletes.

However, the most important question remains open: what does the average consumer want in piece of smart clothing?

As a parent, I’d happily pay for a shirt that reports location, temperature, heart and breathing rates of my children.

What would YOU want in a smart garment?

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