Nike might have gotten into the fitness wearable game and exited it before anyone knew what was going on, but that doesn’t mean others aren’t going to try their hand at tracking your important stats in new and innovative was. One of those companies is OMsignal, which has developed a range of clothing that tracks you and your information, broadcasting it to your smartphone for easy perusal.
OMSignal offers a wide range of fitness related clothing packed with its sensor kits, from sleeveless vests, to full on tshirts, long-sleeved and short and in varied colours. All of them are compression shirts however, so on a basic level, there’s a little added performance by helping to maintain muscle temperature and keeping blood from seeping into your skin under high pressure. All of them are designed for men at the moment, but there’s female options coming soon.
However, on a sensor level, the clothing tracks heart rate, breathing rate, breathing volume, movement intensity and calories burned, outputting all of this information to your nearby smartphone. These are all designed to help you in the gym, or while performing some other intensive activity, like climbing or canoeing.
However, future versions will be able to detect something a little harder to quantify: stress. It does this by combining information collected via other sensors, so if you aren’t moving but your heart and breathing rates are up, you might be sitting in your car, glaring angrily at thee guy in-front of you in the jam. That’s not helping anyone, so being able to see your stress levels could help you calm down.
In the above trailer we see a different scenario play out. A job interview, where a wife is sent an automated message that her husband is stressed at a job interview. In another, a father with an increased heart rate is rushed to hospital just in-case and a soon-to-be mother, is able to track the heart rate of her baby, as well as her own.
Current versions of OMSignal’s clothing with their fitness focus, are available for pre-order now, at around $90-$130 depending on the version you go for and the current price reductions offered, but there are kits with added sensors for as much as $360 if you want a few different versions.
Cost is going to be an entry point issue for a few people, as a £60 tshirt isn’t something everyone is going to be willing to dish out on. There’s also potential security issues that you’d want to look into if buying a product like this. If tracking is all done through OMSignal’s app, does it keep any of that information or sell it on to third parties?
OMSignal’s products, like Google Glass, want us to adopt an increasingly connected future, where data is our friend, not our enemy, but it’s hard to shake off privacy concerns in a post Snowden world. Time will tell if OMSignal’s benefits can outweigh its potential for loss of personal privacy.