Intel’s wearable future is a smart shirt

One of the most exciting things about wearables, is that everyone seems to have a different idea about what the future holds for the new trend in technology. We’ve got some companies making fitness bands, others watches and even nail art. Chip giant Intel on the other hand, believes that the wearable future is very wearable indeed. In fact, it believes that wearables will be essentially clothing, with built in sensors and even has plans to sell one itself later this year.

The shirt is one that Intel had previously talked about at CES among others, but it’s the first one its pushed to become an actual product and shows a real shift in the corporation’s direction. Traditionally it’s focused on providing chips to OEMs and system builders, as well as selling performance chips to consumers through retailers. This shirt is a very different type of product for Intel to be selling, which is why it’s notable that Intel is behind its production.

Talking about the shirt at the recent Re/Code event, was Mike Bell, head of new devices at Intel. “This shirt actually has sensors built into it that can track your heart rate while you exercise,” he said. He then went on to show how the shirt needs to be connected to a small box which is fitted with the company’s “Edison,” computer technology and when connected, it gives the shirt its functionality.

mikebell

The information tracked by the shirt can be sent via bluetooth or WiFi to a smartphone or PC, to give you a rundown of your heart rate as you exercise or go about your daily life.

Bell also revealed that the shirt was produced by a partner company of Intel, AIQ, which has been producing gloves that work with touchscreens for a while now. Intel’s involvement in this instance is a way of pushing its Edison technology, where it hopes to sell control boxes for other smart wearable makers. Bell talked in the video of how potentially Intel could add a 3G chip to the box, giving it much more functionality on the go.

“This is an example of what can be done,” continued Bell. “We’re produced the hardware and software for partners, and you could imagine shirts for kids or the elderly.”

Clearly Intel is hoping to sell its tech on to third parties, who can then adapt it to commercial products.

Bell also touched on Intel’s recent acquisition of the company behind the Basis heart monitor wrist band, suggesting that Intel was looking to develop all of the technology behind future wearables and wanted to power them with Intel chips. This way it can offer complete packages of sensors and computational power to partners for further development.

 

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