HoodieBuddie features built in headphones

HoodieBuddie features built in headphones

Executives from the smart textile and embedded sensor sectors gathered in London last month for the third edition of the annual Wearable Technology Show. Everything from performance enhancing sportswear to intelligent insoles and jackets that alert workers if they go too close to moving vehicles was on show. Katie Smith takes a closer look at some of the highlights. 

Antelope: Compression performance enhancing sportswear 

Wearable Life Science GmbH launched what it describes as the first mobile whole body electro muscle stimulation system for the end consumer under its Antelope series. Antelope products aim to enhance strength, endurance, coordination and speed during conventional exercising. The series, which includes a full body suit, calf guards, wing, pelvic floor pants, and tank top, consist of special compression fabrics with integrated textile electrodes and wiring. While the electro muscle stimulation (EMS) technology mimics natural muscle contraction, the stimulus occurs directly on the muscle and activates a much higher percentage of the fibres, the company explained. 

The fabric consists of a blend, which is suitable for sportswear, breathable, antibacterial and is washable, and can be stretched in multiple directions. The electrical impulses are triggered through an electronic unit – the Antelope booster – which is controlled by a mobile app. The Antelope app features specially developed programmes and settings such as frequency, intensity levels, training length, speed and intervals. 

Wearable Technologies: Zonesafe collaboration 

Wearable Technologies unveiled its Zonesafe collaboration, designed to alert workers in the industrial sector if they get too close to moving vehicles through warning lights and audio alarms embedded into their Visijax hiviz vests and jackets. The Zonesafe collaboration also includes washable safety vests and parkas that have LEDs integrated into them to add extra visibility in poor lighting conditions. 

Also on show was the company's activewear line, which includes jackets for cyclists. Teflon coated, breathable and waterprooof, the jackets feature white and red LED lights on the front and back respectively. With built-in motion sensors, the wearer can raise their arm to make the lights flash. By placing their arms back on the handle bar and completing the turn, the indicators self cancel and the lights stop flashing. 

AIQ Smart Clothing: BioMan 

Taiwan-based AIQ Clothing launched a range of smart garments, including its BioMan bio-monitoring shirt. Paired with Bluetooth connectivity to a smart device, BioMan can be used to monitor heart rate, ECG and stress level during sports training or everyday activities. The performance data can then be analysed on a mobile phone or computer. The shirt, which is machine washable, features the company's own stainless steel conductive fibre, which is manufactured by parent company Tex-Ray. The fibre is permanent, unlike coating materials in other products that peel off, a spokesperson for AIQ explained. AIQ also unveiled its smart clothing with motion sensing features for fitness and rehabilitation in healthcare applications. 

Myzone: App and smart clothing range

Myzone, which was named 'overall wearable winner' at the show, unveiled its new innovative app and smart clothing range. The Myzone heart rate monitor promises 99.4% electrocardiogram technology (EKG) accuracy and can store up to 16 hours of activity data. Integrated into the MZ-3 belt, it provides real-time accurate feedback on heart rate, calories and intensity in five colour-coded zones. Exercise data can be accessed using the app to help the wearer track progress and gain more understanding about their workout habits. It also features built-in leaderboards, status rankings, and social integration. 

The Myzone heart rate monitor has also been integrated into a smart bra for women and compression T-shirt for men. They each feature connecting points for the Myzone module to snap on and line up with the wearer's heart. 

HoodieBuddie 

HoodieBuddie showcased its lifestyle garments with built-in headphones. Using patented HB3Technology, each HoodieBuddie contains a standard headphone jack in the front zipped pocket that plugs into any headphone-compatible device. Once plugged into the device, the audio travels through embedded cables within the garment to the headphones, which are built in to the ends of the drawstrings. The hoodies, which are machine washable, retail at GBP44 (US$63) to GBP65. 

Ato-Gear: Arion

Ato-Gear unveiled its first running wearable. Arion is designed to help runners improve their running technique and performance and prevent injuries using an ultra-thin intelligent insole. The pressure sensitive insoles, which slip under existing running shoe insoles, analyse a runner's biomechanics and feed that data to an app via Bluetooth, providing real-time feedback during a run. The data can also be uploaded onto an online dashboard, which runners can review to plan and develop their training programmes. 

Clara Swiss Tech: Smart jacket 

Clara Swiss Tech showcased its smart jacket designed to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety by enhancing their visibility in poor light conditions. The jacket incorporates ultra-bright turn signals and braking sensors, which automatically perceive whether a rider is braking and promptly activate all indicators in red to signal to upcoming cars to slow down. Made from waterproof fabrics, the jacket also has up to ten hours of battery life.