US apparel firm Seismic has unveiled its first collection of “powered clothing,” which it says fuses discreet robotics with textiles to create products that look and feel like apparel, but “function more like an extension of the human body.”

The launch comes fresh off last month’s acquistion of the intellectual property of Lumo Bodytech – a motion science company known for its posture-correcting and fitness devices.

The collection was presented at technology startup conference TechCrunch Disrupt on 6 September.

Seismic will enter the consumer market with a limited release in 2019. The company plans to focus on the activewear market.

“If you wear clothes, you are a potential customer of Seismic,” Rich Mahoney, CEO and co-founder of Seismic, says. “We see a future where simply getting dressed in the morning can dramatically improve people’s lifestyles and expand what they are capable of accomplishing. Today we unveiled a product prototype, and our technology will continue to become lighter and smaller and more powerful, with the suit’s intelligence uniquely optimising the wearer’s experience, learning and adapting with every use.”

Seismic’s Powered Clothing consists of three distinct layers: base layer, strength layer, and intelligent layer.

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The base layer is the apparel itself, which is designed to be worn primarily as an undergarment or can be worn as activewear on its own. It contains interior pockets that hold the removable hardware and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. It is constructed from a combination of stretch-knit and woven fabrics that follow the contours of the body and provide structure where needed.

The strength layer contains the robotic components – located on the outer leg, extending up to the hip area, and including the lower back – that replicate the functionality of muscles, tendons and ligaments. Seismic’s robotic “muscles” contract and relax, just as the body’s muscles do, to assist the wearer’s motion, such as standing up from a seated position. If the wearer is in a prolonged standing position, the muscles co-contract around the hip to promote stability and proper posture. This layer also includes sensors that track body orientation, as well as the force applied by each robotic muscle.

The intelligent layer is contained within an external pack, worn on the lower back, that is akin to the suit’s brain and borrows from mobile and IoT (internet of things) technology. Key components include an on-board computer with memory that gathers data from sensors throughout the suit and wireless connectivity to access suit settings as well as fully programmable suit controls that provide a user experience called “Symbiosis.”

“Creating impactful robotic products is my passion,” Mahoney says. “The impetus for starting Seismic was when I realised a very simple truism: no one wears robotics, everyone wears clothing. That is why we are an apparel company first and foremost. The more we fit into people’s lifestyles, the more they will use the technology.”