06.02.2019 Articles & Video

Fashion of the Future: What Smartphones and Clothes Have in Common

What do smartphones, clothing, sports, medicine, and the army have in common? The answer is pretty simple – smart wearables. It is fashionable to be smart, therefore, we have smart home, smart watches, smart cars, smartphones, and, of course, smart clothes. On a daily basis, developers try to make plain mundane things smart, thus saving us trouble and easing our lives. We wonder what kind of thing is next on a SMART waiting list.

While you are thinking and staking on, we’ll highlight advances that have already been achieved in this area.

What Smartphones and Clothes Have in Common

Does Clothing Need a Smartphone? Why So?

A smartphone is used to transfer, save and display data. The phone acts as a unifying link between sensors and a person. At present, developers of smart clothes produce clothing items with applications for smartphones and tablets. Therefore, you can see and track the sensor performance only when using your gadget.

Generally speaking, you can obtain the following data with smart clothes and a special application:

  • muscle condition – sensors assess the muscle activity;
  • heart rate – using a smartphone, you can control cardio load. If you set the upper allowable heart rate limit and exceed it during your workout, the smartphone will inform you about this;
  • heart rhythm recovery – sensors collect and record information about the speed of heart rhythm recovery;
  • respiration rate – clothes measure a person's breathing; moreover, a smartphone can even calculate your VO2 max using these data (VO2 max indicates how long and how fast people can run without harming their health);
  • number of repetitions – no need for a pen & paper any more. Sensors will calculate and record your sets and the number of repetitions;
  • balance and rhythm – your smartphone will show which part of the body or muscle group worked more/less. Also, you can track and stick to the required rhythm;
  • distance – using sensors and GPS, you can get information about the direction and distance done;
  • calories – clothing conveys information about the number of calories burned.

The above features are only basic functions that are already working in smart clothing, and their results can be displayed on a smartphone. Along with these, there are still many additional functions, but their presence (or absence) depends on the purpose of clothing.

How Does Clothing Get Smart?

At present, there are two options of smart clothes.

No. 1. A piece of clothing is made of ordinary fabric used for sportswear. Sensors transmitting information are sewn into special pockets.

No. 2. A more complicated option, still under development. Innovators have created special conductive textile that recognizes signals and transmits them to a smartphone. You can type and swipe over such clothes. However, this e-fabric technology needs to be further polished, so we can’t sew such smart garments for mass market yet.

Today, you can easily buy items with embedded sensors. These are mainly pants, shorts, T-shirts, socks, and sports bras.

Why Does a Smartphone Need Clothes?

This question brings us back to the topic of a new type of textile. The main idea of developers is to free our hands and pockets from gadgets.

Conductive threads should act as sensors in a smartphone. For example, imagine a phone is ringing while you are riding a bike. To take a call, you’ll only need to wipe your clothes the same way as you do it with your phone. It’s really fast and convenient, because you don’t have to stop and thus won’t be distracted by the call.

The prototype of this jacket already exists – it’s Project Jacquard out of Google ATAP lab. With this jacket, you can turn on/off music, adjust the sound volume, use voice commands, answer a call, etc.

Project Jacquard from Google

Still, the core idea is that ideally you could leave your gadget at home, while your clothing would perform its main functions. You have to agree that it’s a capital idea, since each of us happened to leave the smartphone at home or at work at least once.

Do We Need Smart Clothes in the First Place?

Surely yes! Professional athletes already use existing models. For example, Athos has released clothing and a special application that allows the coach to monitor the athlete’s work and make each workout effective to the maximum. To this end, the company has created special online monitoring centers where you can track the training of the whole team.

Apart from helping to achieve maximum results, smart clothing can prevent injuries. The trainer is able to control the degree of load on muscles and stop training when necessary.

Smartphone and Workout

Today, smart clothing has become popular in the military sector too. Apart from health monitoring of the military, these wearables enable you to track their exact location and help coordinate the work during air-land operations. A big plus of such clothes is their lightness, durability and all-purposeness. Also, smart clothes are quite comfortable.

In the future, they plan to use a range of smart clothing in the medical industry. Special clothes will help doctors to monitor the patient's condition at a distance. For example, if a patient's heart rate accelerates and the pressure rises, the doctor will receive a signal and be able to contact the client as soon as possible and recommend taking the necessary medication.

At present, many hospitals are overflowing with patients who have already undergone the main course of treatment, but cannot leave the hospital, because the doctor has to monitor their condition for some time. If you manage to implement the idea of smart clothes, then this whole process will take place outside the hospital. In addition, smart clothes will show if there is any progress in treatment or, on the contrary, there are side effects after taking medication.

Like it or not, smart clothing technologies have to be polished & error-free and still need a smartphone. We aren't sure yet how things will go with smart wearables. However, we can help your smartphone right now. If you happen to need some parts, you can always rely on us. You will definitely like our product range and prices.

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