The concept of smart clothing first popped up in 2015, but nothing has accelerated the need for them more than the COVID-19 crisis. When we need to keep ourselves healthy and protect ourselves from anything that might cause illness or disease, the use of tech-integrated clothing is exactly the kind of thing society needs to make room for. Here are some examples of smart clothing to watch out for in 2021.
If you’re the type that loves outdoor sports in extreme weather like skiing, a smart jacket can be a good addition to your Descente ski jacket and other protective wear. There are plenty of smart jackets that have been introduced in the market, with one of them having a self-heating feature that responds to changes in temperature.
Another type of smart jacket is Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket, which was created in partnership with Google’s Project Jacquard. There are gesture and touch-sensitive areas on the sleeve which allow users to interact with various features, like maps and music apps. Users will also get directions or dismiss phone calls with a single swipe without having to reach for their phone.
Smart yoga pants
Many people love the idea of doing yoga, but actually practicing it is a different story since it’s not the easiest workout type out there. Smart yoga pants were invented to help people in their quest to get better at yoga since the pants are equipped with built-in vibrations that gently pulse at the ankles, knees, and hips to help users move properly and hold their positions longer. The smart yoga pants can be connected to your Bluetooth and a companion app, helping you track your progress and give you additional feedback. These smart yoga pants come in different colors and sizes, too.
Smart shirts were designed with serious athletes in mind, regardless of their sport or event. If you are someone who wants to take running, cycling, or general fitness more seriously, smart shirts were built with a compression-style fit to keep you in decent shape. It’s incorporated with sensors into the garment and the clip-on box to track and record the data, measure the user’s heart-rate variability, and their anaerobic capacity and threshold, and stress and fitness levels. The data is then viewed in real-time through the companion app, where users can benefit from additional individual training programs and gain insight into their biometric data and how it can help optimize their training and recovery.
Smart socks have been invented for a variety of reasons. One smart sock was created to function like smart shirts in that they help the user figure out how their foot lands when they run or walk, and the user can then utilize that data to improve their running and walking habits. Another smart sock was created with babies in mind—they help monitor babies’ heart rates to make sure their breathing and sleeping are not interrupted. The smart sock is Bluetooth-powered and syncs to smartphones to deliver information in real-time. The Bluetooth range has recently improved and can go up to 100 feet in distance, with enhanced sensors to provide parents with fewer false notifications.
A French fashion tech company designed a collection of smart bikinis equipped with waterproof sensors that are removable and medallion-style. These sensors can help the user stop staying too long out in the sun. The smart bikinis come with a companion app where users can input their skin types and other pertinent information, and the app informs the users when it’s time to get into the shade or apply more sunscreen.
There are plenty of smart glasses currently in the market, and many of them were built to take images and record videos. As time went on, these smart glasses improved their image quality, incorporated dual microphones for enhanced sound recording, and even allowed for faster transfer times. Snapchat’s smart glasses, called the Spectacles 3, are a particularly excellent choice for today’s social media junkies who have a knack for creativity and videography and who want to document their days in fun and cool ways.
These tech-integrated clothes may seem like overkill, but many of them can help us in our quest to be healthier, do our workouts right, and even stay on top of our babies’ health and progress—all without having to grab our smartphones. As time goes on, these smart clothes will hopefully be democratized so more people can have access to them.