Smart devices continue to take over the home and workplace, and wearables are now entering the market to dictate our movements – but there hasn’t been much innovation in the area of embedding technology into actual clothing.
An American start-up, Athos, is attempting to do just that. At The Verge, founders Dhananja Jayalth and Christopher Wiebe have said the company was formed due to the frustration of exercise and not being able to see progress day by day.
“The next day you’ll be sore. Maybe too sore if you worked out more than you needed, maybe not sore enough, if you didn’t hit your full potential,” they said.
The technology works by implanting sensors into normal-looking gym clothes. These can track muscle activity to determine if you’re working hard enough, or perhaps, pushing yourself too far. So far the business has $US 12 million in funding and its clothes are available for pre-order.
Smart technology embedded in clothing is almost an inevitably given the ongoing progress in connected devices. It also plays into the current obsession with health statistics in the wearable tech space, something Samsung and Nike have been focused on for some time – and possibly Apple, if it releases its own wearable device within the next month.
But is there a point at which wearable technology moves beyond health statistics and into more dynamic and complicated observations? Tracking movement and health is simple enough – benchmarking the number of steps taken against a desired amount is relatively child’s play – but is there a time where we can see more? For instance, wearable tech delivering instant information on nearby retail stores. Or somehow noticing you’ve taken a different route to work than usual – or even anticipating traffic and telling you where to go in advance. Actually noticing the world around you and then providing information and feedback in order to enhance your experience.
Currently, wearable tech is all about providing you with information about what you’re already doing. In the future, that may not be enough. Wearable tech will need to provide more information not on what the user is doing, but what’s happening around them, and how that will affect their day-to-day life. Only then will users find the technology to be essential, rather than as more of a bonus feature.