It seems that the word ‘smart’ can now be placed in front of anything in a bid to make it sound more intelligent, more advanced and, ultimately, altogether more desirable. You’ve no doubt heard of smartwatches, smartphones, smart scales, smart glasses and even smart fridges, but what about smart clothes?
Smart clothing is absolutely a legitimate thing, but the chances are you’re not particularly aware of it, so in this article, we’re going to take a look at what smart clothing is and the items that are currently available, and the benefits such clothing can provide.
A short introduction into e-textiles
Smart clothing can often go by another name – ‘e-textiles’. These items have been designed specifically to ensure that they have a use beyond the ‘traditional’.
For example, they could contain wires, circuitry and cutting edge nanotechnology that controls body temperature or track calorie use, or could be Bluetooth compatible, allowing wearers to upload data and monitor exercise performance or levels of fat burn.
Examples of smart clothing
There are multiple types of smart clothing available. Some are designed by start-ups that have been launched specifically in bid to pioneer this type of technology. In contrast, others are being released – somewhat tentatively at the moment – by major brands such as Nike and Adidas.
- Smart socks. Smart socks are an incredible piece of material. Not only is the wiring involved so thin that the socks can be worn comfortably, but it is so advanced that it can do things such as track running performance and assess whether your technique needs to be improved.
- Smart work clothing. Though still in the experimental phase, companies such as Samsung have developed clothing in-built with technology that can do things such as unlock mobile phones, open doors and, perhaps most excitingly, exchange business card details with someone wearing the same tech.
- Smart pyjamas. Some companies are currently working on clothing that gets to work while the wearer sleeps. The aim is for the clothing to absorb body heat and emit infrared lighting, providing the wearer with the conditions they require to sleep soundly. Others are even working on sleepwear that will modify their own settings over time to match the bespoke needs of the wearer.
What’s all this about smart glasses?
Smart glasses may be the next technological breakthrough when it comes to wearables. There’s even an exciting rumour that Facebook and Apple may be looking to create a range of glasses that use augmented reality, merging the physical world with the virtual one.
However, while the big names may be biding their time, there are already a number of smart glasses available on the market – is this just a glimpse into the future of glasses? We can’t want to find out.
These smart glasses make use of waveguide technology over the right lens to produce full-colour HD. Unlike other forms of smart glasses, they don’t throw their technology in your face, instead, using AR while still managing to look like a regular pair of glasses.
Vuzix Blades are a great teaser into the world of smart glasses, but we’re definitely expecting bigger things in the future.
Saying this, the Vuzix app store that accompanies the glasses is on the up, starting with some games, music and a camera and gradually improving until it made use of Alexa, Zoom and Netflix shows. With a great display, Vuzix blades are a great move towards AR smart glasses.
Epson Moverio BT-300
Unlike the Vuzix Blades, the Epson Moverio BT-300 is very obviously a pair of technology-oriented glasses and haven’t quite mastered the subtle design shift. They look slightly thinner than the version that came before them, and the resolution is much sharper.
They’re also a bit more fun than the classic Epson pair of smart glasses, which tend to have a predominant business focus. Making use of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, you can connect your glasses to a number of devices and link them to a range of exciting apps.
Smart glasses aren’t just providing entertainment, but Solos might be the next best thing for any cyclists. Allowing you to access real-time data such as heart rate, speed and power zones, you can make use of Solos alongside other fitness apps like Strava.
They’ve even been worn by US cycling teams, meaning they’ve been tried and tested with good results.
So there you have it, smart everything could well be as popular a term as IoT, 5G and similar technology terms we will all become accustomed to in the very near future.