Creating sensor studded exercise wear is definitely a good idea, especially since many treadmills don’t register my heart rate despite me clinging to the bars (zombie alert). I caught this Sensilk Flight Tech Bra on Fast Company and was pretty impressed. It’s not just the small electronics, it’s the fact that it actually looks non-techy.
Designer Ashley Tyler worked with design engineer Donald Yang to create the bra. One of their prime concerns was having the bra be an equal part of the product, instead of having the technology be dominant.
Good memory and support were priorities, as was a soft, malleable feel. The design needed to be modern to reflect the cutting-edge technology, but “I didn’t want to look like I was going out to a nightclub,” Tyler adds. The sensors also had to remain firmly near the heart despite the wearer’s activity; otherwise the readers wouldn’t be accurate.
The exciting feature on this bra are the proprietary SOAR sensors made of silver fiber that look like they have been knit into the cloth.
The placement is unobtrusive, maximizes comfort, and allows the bra to “pick up tiny biometric signals in really crowded gyms, something most other biometric monitors can’t do,” Yang says.
The sensors appear to meet the transmitting unit which is on the outside of the bra. That unit records the data and makes it available through an app on your phone.
One of the challenges the company is facing is production–how to bring the slower paced world of fashion together with the quick pace of electronics. This is a similar problem I remember uncovering with Van Dongen’s Solar Shirt.
Sensilk’s solution is to create an apparel supply chain that is as robust and adaptive as the electronics’ world’s is. It will allow for quicker style introductions and technology updates.
Their collaborative spirit is working in their favor and supposedly their pre-orders are shipping this month. Looks like an exciting product and I look forward to reading some reviews. If you feel like DIYing your own wearable, try our Heart Rate Badge tutorial. You’ll learn how to use a Polar Heart Rate Sensor which is worn around the rib cage. Pretty high tech stuff with a fun twist.
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