Smart clothing: clothing that thinks for itself


Our world is becoming increasingly digital. Technology is increasingly leaving the display and becoming more and more integrated into our everyday world. The best example is smart clothing, which combines technology and wearability. Sales of wearable technology are expected to rise to 8.4 million garments annually by 2019, according to forecasts by Statista.

This trend is also being driven by big companies like Google. The search engine giant is partnering with major fashion brands like Levi’s and Under Armour in its Jaquard Project to jointly develop the smart clothing of the future. At the same time, numerous small start-ups and young fashion designers are working on new ideas to digitally network our clothing and equip it with smart functions.

What do you want to wear: a T-shirt that tells you if you are doing your fitness exercises correctly? Can you have! We show what the e-textiles market currently offers and what we will wear in the future.

More safety in traffic thanks to smart clothes

The US magazine Outdoor has interviewed the founder of Lumenus, Jeremy Wall, as the Steve Jobs of the outdoor industry. Big shoes to fill! So what do the clothes of the future look like for Wall? Brightly lit. Safety is the motto of Lumenus. The calculation behind it: better lighting = fewer deaths and injuries on the road. To achieve this, the U.S. company is integrating LED lights into smart clothes and accessories for runners, cyclists and motorcyclists.  

During the day, the high-tech clothing should not differ from conventional textiles in terms of fit, size and feel. It is only at dusk, on the way home from work, for example, that the jacket, the backpack or bicycle helmet from Lumenus then become functional clothing with an electric trick: Simply switch on the LEDs via app and off you go. The high-tech clothing creates 7.5 hours of continuous light or 24 hours in flashing mode. It is charged via a USB port.  

Smart clothes help with orientation

If the smartphone is connected to the e-textiles, you no longer need to look at Google Maps for orientation. The clothes take care of that: The jacket flashes right or left, you turn into the appropriate streets and arrive safely at your destination. Just like a traffic light, the color of the LEDs changes from orange to red as you slow down and brake. 

By the way, the smart clothes from Lumenus also function as a training coach and thus enhance performance: you enter into the app how fast or far you want to go. The LEDs flash faster if you fall below the calculated speed.

Smart clothes for maximize success in sports

You exercise regularly? Very well. But do you train correctly? If your posture is correct when you run, is your back still straight when you do 40. push-ups, your back is still straight? Without a coach to keep an eye on your performance, it’s only a matter of time before mistakes start to creep in. The consequences are bad posture, underperformance, demotivation. For those who can’t afford or don’t want a personal trainer, the U.S. company Lumo Bodytech and the German start-up Trainwear have developed solutions.

Leave unnecessary ballast at home

When running, you want to have to wear as few things as necessary. You can leave your chest strap and wrist activity tracker at home from now on. Lumo has sewn the special “Lumo Run Sensor” into the waistband of your pants. The motion science company collects and evaluates the following data from the runner: Stride rate, bounce or vertical oscillation (“bounce”), changes in forward speed (“break”), horizontal and rotational pelvic movements.

Plus, the Lumo app gives you real-time audio coaching, post-run analysis, and training tips to improve your running form and movement patterns. Sounds promising, doesn’t it? That’s why sporting goods supplier Puma also joined as a partner this fall.

The first virtual personal trainer

You earn your money as a personal trainer? Then you’d better sit down now and take a sip of water first. Because you have to be very strong now! The German start-up Trainwear is namely the winner of this year’s first Fashion Fusion competition 2017 of Deutsche Telekom in Berlin. 

The concept of the three founders in collaboration with the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence: smart fitness clothing that not only measures normal activity tracker data, but also provides feedback on posture and correct execution of sports exercises! The data and functions are processed via specially developed sensors. The Trainwear high-tech clothing is virtually a “virtual personal trainer,” according to the enthusiastic jury. The prize for so much courage and innovation: 20.000 euros to drive the development further forward.

Smart clothes for every occasion

Arguably the most advanced jacket, at least in terms of number of features, is offered by startup Hallam P. New York, Inc. The Smart Jacket 2.0 comes in 3 styles, a hoodie, a college jacket and a fancy wool coat. And: each style is available in basic, smart, outdoor and travel versions. Up to 29 functions are integrated. It’s as if MacGyver had been resurrected as a fashion designer.

The basic version alone offers 18 functions, including a smartphone charger. The Travel version, on the other hand, offers.a. a selfie tripod. For smartphone users, it can only be the smart style, including integrated Bluetooth connectivity, GPS tracking, push notification and control functions for the music. As a hoodie from around 200 US dollars. 

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