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Scared of skinny jeans?

Try smart clothes instead, smarty pants

7Jul

So it turns out skinny jeans are bad for us. Recent reports cite several health hazards associated with the fashion trend including poor circulation, loss of feeling in the legs and damage to nerves and muscles.

But what about clothes that actually help maintain your health? Smart clothes are harder on the bank balance than your everyday garments, but they could make a serious contribution to patient/user empowerment going forward.

Fashion and fitness

Athos is an up-and-coming brand working in smart clothes. Offering fitness shirts and shorts for men and women, the group’s textiles promise “sensors that you won’t even know are there; athletically designed compression fit; durable and built to last”.

The ‘core’ is a small black unit purchased separately, which controls any Athos garment’s sensors and collects the data. It analyzes physiological data from the sensors and sends it on to your mobile device via bluetooth.

Smart socks for diabetes care

On the medical side, SmartSox is a product developed by researchers at the University of Arizona. A preventative example of smart clothes, the socks contain sensors which alert the wearer to any changes in condition which could ultimately lead to amputation.

Intelligent hospital gown

In a similar field, researchers at Universidad Carlos III in Madrid, Spain have developed an “intelligent hospital gown” which monitors the human body (temperature, heart rate, etc.) and locates patients within the hospital.

“The information gathered by an intelligent t-shirt using e-textile technology is sent, without using wires, to an information management system, which then shows the patient’s location and vital signs in real time”, say its creators.

The system is designed to be used in hospitals and can be divided into two parts: the fixed infrastructure, which are pre-installed in the hospital, and the mobile units, which move with the patients.

Google’s project

One step on from smart clothes are clothes capable of actually controlling your device. And it may not be that far off. Last month Google announced a collaboration with Levi’s to make clothes with touch and gesture interactivity.

Called ‘Project Jacquard‘, Google explains: “Using conductive yarns, bespoke touch and gesture-sensitive areas can be woven at precise locations, anywhere on the textile. Alternatively, sensor grids can be woven throughout the textile, creating large, interactive surfaces.”

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