While there are plenty of manufacturers out there looking to create wearables for your wrist, other companies are heading in another direction altogether, making shirts and tshirts for the fitness enthusiasts out there. One such firm is Hexoskin, which makes a sleeveless Tshirt that tracks various aspects of your body and outputs the results to your smartphone.
The Hexoskin is a black, sleeveless design that features the ability to track your heart rate with high precision sensors. With those same sensors, it can also let you know if you’re heart rate is varying due to over-training or excess fatigue – in either case, the Hexoskin will let you know it’s probably time to take it easy.
Since it covers your entire upper body – save your arms and head – the Hexoskin is also able to measure your breathing volume by testing your lung capacity everytime you inhale and exhale. The usual stuff like cadence, calories and steps are also tracked in real time, giving you extra statistics that you can pore over later.
One thing that does separate the Hexoskin – though there are extra wearable products that give the same function – from other fitness bands, is that it measures your sleep. During it, it tracks your heart rate, breathing and sleeping position, giving you a detailed break down on how your body behaves when its passed out.
All of this information is tracked by a multitude of sensors. Three separate ones are used for the heart monitoring alone, though don’t fret, they’re fabric based so won’t irritate your skin or get in the way. Breathing is measured by expandable sensor bands that wrap around your upper body, while movement is measured by an accelerometer.
In total, it features a 14 hour battery life during training, and as long as 150 hours of standby time, though you might want to wash it at some point during that time, as it doesn’t guarantee to be a smell free wearable.
Information is wirelessly sent to your phone or tablet via bluetooth.
Unlike a lot of the wearable products we look at here, the Hexoskin is available today, with starter kits for men and women costing $399 (£235). There’s also shirt only kits for $175, but neither of them come with the hardware required to track information and send it to your phone or tablet.
The Hexoskin is impressively fully featured, which makes it stand out from other wearables. However, the added battery pack doesn’t seem like it would be particularly comfortable, especially if you rolled on it, which makes me think sleep studies in this thing are likely to just wake you up rather than give you useful information. It’s also far from cheap. When you can get a simple fitness band for £100 or less, spending £250 or so including postage seems like a lot to ask, even if it does track more than the average wearable.
I think the Hexoskin is a much more likely product for people to buy in the wearable future, as it’s a little more versatile than your average fitness band, but for now I think the cost is just too much for most people to consider worthwhile.