Ralph Lauren Swings into Wearables

— August 25, 2014

On opening day of the US Open, Ralph Lauren Corp. will unveil a Polo Tech shirt that merges biometrics into active lifestyle apparel.

Designed to improve general wellness and increase personal fitness, the product features sensors that are knitted into the shirt to read biological and physiological information—including the user's heart rate, breathing, steps and calories burned.

Ralph Lauren is providing ball boys with the Polo Tech shirt during select matches at the Billie Jean National Tennis Center. In addition, Marcos Giron, a top-performing player in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, will be wearing the shirt during his practices to track biometrics and make adjustments in real time to his play, form and breathing. 

According to the US Open Tournament director, David Brewer, there are features in the Polo Tech shirt that can "revolutionize how players train and compete."

Wearable Biometrics
David Lauren, the EVP of Global Advertising, Marketing and Corporate Communications for Ralph Lauren, also sees a place for the Polo Tech shirt in everyday life. "Our vision is that this will transcend sports to help us at every age and in every aspect of life. Reaching far beyond just the needs of elite athletes, Polo Tech will offer innovative technology for all ages and lifestyles to promote general wellness and quality of life."  

Developed with technology from smartwear designer, OMsignal—whose team includes experts in neuroscience, sports medicine and engineering—the shirt itself is the sensor. The OMsignal platform delivers a wide variety of physiological data through apparel directly to the users via an app on their smartphone.

Data collected by the shirt is stored by a "black box," which includes an accelerometer and gyroscope to capture movement and direction. The box then transmits the data into the cloud, where it is plugged into a number of algorithms that gauge important performance-oriented biometrics—including heartbeat and respiration, as well as some psychometrics, such as stress level and energy output.

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