Smart clothes are more than a fashion trend. They represent traditional and new garments, and fabrics. that contain technology and analytics for monitoring human performance and health.
Some garments feature mesh wiring woven into the fabric, while others contain hardware that connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone, Android or iOS.
Clothing such as Bluetooth beanies are not new, reports Lifewire, but more recent examples of smart clothing expand on technology. Denim jackets that can track your Uber’s location and tracksuits can bathe your body in infrared light for faster recovery are part of a new wave of smart products.
Below are five of the best smart clothing items available for purchase, as reported by Livewire.
- Google continues to add new functionality.
- Stylish and functional.
- Jacquard snap tab connects the jacket to a smartphone.
- Snap tab is removable.
- Only available in one color.
- Requires an Android or iPhone connection.
The Commuter x Jacquard is part of a collaboration between Levi’s and Google. This non-stretch denim jacket connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and can screen phone calls, control music volume, and notify you when your rideshare is nearby.
The Role of Patents in Fashion
As of October 2022 1,346 patents have been issued on smart cloth, according to Patent Newzbox. 915 have yet to issue. This implies significant and sustained interest in the area.
A report from Cientifica Research examines the markets for textile-based wearable technologies, the companies producing them, and the enabling technologies. The report identifies three distinct generations of textile wearable technologies:
- “First-generation” attach a sensor to apparel. This approach is currently taken by sportswear brands such as Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour
- “Second-generation” products embed the sensor in the garment, as demonstrated by current products from Samsung, Alphabet, Ralph Lauren, and Flex.
- In “third-generation” wearables, the garment is the sensor. A growing number of companies are creating pressure, strain, and temperature sensors for this purpose.
Future applications for E-textiles may be developed for sports and well-being products, and medical devices for patient monitoring. Technical textiles, fashion and entertainment will also be significant applications. The Cientifica Research report can be found here.
- Bluetooth 5.0 and Wireless 802.11 ac compatible.
- Comes with a 3D viewer.
- Share images on Snapchat or export them to other sites.
- 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.
- Two camera lenses are still obvious.
- Not many color options.
- Not water-resistant.
Snap’s third generation of smart glasses boasts improved image quality for videos and photos and dual microphones for better sound recording and faster transfer times. Spectacles 3 claim to “bring augmented reality to life.” The glasses have two HD cameras that capture 3D photos and videos at 60 fps. They have four built-in microphones.
The Spectacles 3 come in two colors: carbon and mineral. Although the cameras on the glasses are still visible, the new design is more subtle, and they don’t broadcast to the world that you may be taking snaps.
- An original take on smart clothing technology.
- A great tool for people who want to work on their yoga poses at home.
- Pants are like a built-in yoga class.
- Smart features only work when doing poses from the app.
- The Nadi X app is only available on iOS devices.
Nadi X yoga pants can sense when your yoga pose needs refining. Using haptic feedback, the smart pants create small vibrations on the body part you need to adjust.
The Nadi X iOS app offers instructions on how to optimize each pose in addition to proper yoga flows that can be used to curate your own personal yoga class.
Nadi X yoga pants are available for men and women in a variety of sizes. They are machine washable after removing the battery pack that attaches to the rear of your left knee.
- No batteries, electronics, or wires are needed.
- A nice variety of UA RECOVER sportswear and sleepwear.
- Effectiveness of the level of infrared light is unknown.
- Most color options are restricted to black, grey, and white.
UA RECOVER is Under Armour’s clothing line that absorbs heat from the human body and then reflects the heat back onto the wearer’s skin as far infrared light. This is especially useful to athletes because far infrared light encourages better muscle recovery and enhances relaxation.
Using this same technology, Under Armour also has bed sheets and pillowcases that cover your body in far infrared light while you sleep.
- Collect data on foot landing technique.
- Bluetooth connection to iPhone.
- Option for core device on one or both socks.
- No color options are available beyond the default black.
- Only available for iOS 10 or higher.
Sensoria Fitness Socks use advanced textile sensors built into each sock, plus a Core device that snaps into the dock that is attached to the sock to deliver precise data on how your foot lands while walking or running.
The connected app provides tips to improve your walking and running technique, and it tracks your steps, speed, altitude, and distance traveled.
Beyond ‘Wearables’ – Possible Uses of Smart Fabrics
A short list of possible uses of smart clothing, also known as E-textiles, include:
- Health monitoring of vital signs such as heart rate, respiration rate, temperature, activity, and posture.
- Sports training data acquisition
- Monitoring personnel handling hazardous materials
- Tracking the position and status of soldiers in action
- Military app – Soldier’s bulletproof kevlar vest; if the wearer is shot, the material can sense the bullet’s impact and send a radio message back to base
- Monitoring pilot or truck driver fatigue
- Diagnosing amputee discomfort
- Innovative fashion (wearable tech)
- Regain sensory perception that was previously lost by accident or birth
The role of Utility and Design Patents
Ludmila Lisovskaya, Patent Specialist at Zuykov and Partners, says it is possible to protect fashion objects as inventions and utility models. She encourages the exploration of patents as a form of protection in the fashion industry, a strategy that until now had not been relevant. She provides examples. Read her article in The Patent Lawyer here.
Image source: livewire.com; patentnewzbox