6 Popular Clothes That Use Wearable Technology
Why Clothing that Uses Wearable Technology is the Future
First Off: What Is Smart Clothing?
Clothing that uses wearable technology is what is referred to as smart clothing. These involve internet-connected clothing and self-adjusting clothes that are now some of the fastest growing wearable technology sectors.
At the moment, activity trackers and smartwatches are kings in the wearables market but wearable technology clothing is growing exponentially. There are even websites devoted entirely to gadgets and electronics ratings. According to Juniper, connected clothing is set to be an industry worth a billion dollars by 2020. Smart clothing is better than today’s wearables given that they are in direct contact with the body and hence are more accurate and are more effective over longer ranges.
The Great Challenge: Making New Wearables Practical.
The new trend in wearables is a collaboration between tech companies such as Google and apparel companies such as Levi. One of the pioneering wearable clothing in such a partnership is the “Levi’s Commuter X Jacket” that uses Google’s Project Jacquard technology. Another company that has delved into the practical wearables is Nike, which developed the “HyperAdapt” smart adjusting shoes that had self-tying laces. These were promoted by soccer icon Christiano Ronaldo and tennis champion Serena Williams. Meanwhile, Microsoft and Samsung the South Korean electronics giant have also come up with wearable tech offerings such as golf shirts that warn you of bad weather, and smart scarfs that you can heat with a smartphone app. However, it is important to note that most tech companies are not interested in making clothing but rather in empowering apparel makers with more practical designs of wearables.
Some of the Most Popular Wearable Clothing That’s Available Right Now:
The biggest issue with wearable clothing has been whether people will actually want to buy and wear smart clothing. Before the market reaches critical mass, consumers’ anxieties and concerns have to be addressed. For instance, there is a risk of battery powered clothing exploding just like phones have been known to. However, with people using tons of personal gadgets and phones, consumers seem more willing to take the risk.
Wearable clothing also tends to be very expensive sometimes costing as much as $2500 as was the case for Ralph Lauren’s self-heating jackets. This makes such clothing out of reach of the majority of consumers. However, Poupyrev of Google believes that consumers need to see smart clothing as a practical investment and hence the cost should not matter as much.
Going forward, wearable clothing will move from the experimental to essentials as consumers become more comfortable with them. Once people acknowledge the benefits of smart clothing the demand will rise and the costs should go down.
Another important development going forward is color changing which can make garments more flexible and extend their life.
High Tech Industrial Uses and Military Clothing
Before the mass adoption of wearable clothing, industry could just be the path to achieving critical mass.
In the coming years, the military, pro sports, health care and emergency services such as firefighting will lead the drive for smart clothing. Heavy industry is also critical in adoption as connected clothes can be used by supervisors to track the heart rates of employees to know when they need a break from strenuous work.
The military is also adopting smart wearables with companies such as BAE systems finding alternative uses for e-textiles. They are making clothes that have power and data networks incorporated into conductive fabrics rather than using cables and wires. You can then plug electronic devices straight into a belt, jacket, or vest and not have to load down the infantryman with gear.