Many of us enjoy wearing our Fitbits, Polar Loops, Restwise devices and Nike Fuel Bands as well as the rest of latest technology in the fast growing world known by some as quantified self. The bracelets and heart rate straps help us monitor everything from our energy output and heart rate during exercise to how we sleep through the night. The new year, however, could take this multi-billion dollar industry of wearable technology to a whole new level. The industry will progress from wearing a device in your pocket or around your wrist to actually covering part of your body, like the Athos Base series for example. This is athletic apparel that is worn during exercise and actually has sensors that measure every muscle exertion, heart beat, and breath that you take during your exercise session. As with all the devices mentioned, the data can sync with your smart phone. The cost is about $299 and this includes the clothing ($99) and the core module ($199) that collects the data. Other companies like Heapsylon, a startup based out of Redmond, Wash., will be rolling out a T-shirt and a sports bra with heart rate monitoring capabilities. The clothing, which will retail for $59 apiece, will be available in stores before yearend. “It’s comfortable, it’s washable, and it provides real-time data,” says Chief Executive Officer Davide Viganò.
In 2011, more than 14 million wearable devices were shipped out to tech geeks around the world and that number is expected to grow to 171 million by 2016. Industry experts agree that revenues could exceed 12 billion by 2018 and the wearable athletic apparel line will definitely help fuel this untamed fire.
If you’re wondering “wear” all this could eventually lead…I’ll tell you. It will eventually move from tech devices, gadgets, eye glasses and apps to wearable athletic apparel as mentioned to eventually skin sensors. This product will actually adhere to the surface of your skin like a band-aid and will calculate everything from heart rate to sweat-loss. Check out mc10, a Cambridge-based “wearable” tech company for a look into the soon-to-be future.