Imagine the Apple watch sneaking its way further up your arm until it comprises your shirt sleeve, your jacket and even your sports bra. Our current textiles don’t have the ability to monitor our heart rate, pay for our coffee or even generate electricity, but in the near future these possibilities will be right next to our skin.
When this day comes, support the smart clothing for the revolution it brings.
One major revolution will come in fitness and athletics, since the techy textiles will have clear contact with our skin. Athletes will enjoy upcoming shirts like Polar Team Pro that can monitor heart rates, running speed and even recovery period. And the SUPA powered sports bra brings things closer to home for feminine-identified people. It’s a bra with a heart rate monitor built into it, which can be connected to an app on your smartphone, making monitoring run data much easier.
What is ahead for those not in the workout realm? Everyday automation. There are already jackets that allow you to pay for coffee without even carrying a wallet. From the clothing company Lyle and Scott, a small chip is inserted into the sleeve of the jacket, allowing you to run your hand over a scanner and be on your way.
What’s more, there’s a possibility that whole cities will be powered by electricity-harvesting shoes. Invented by Taylor Ward, a shoe can use the piezoelectric effect to accumulate kinetic energy from walking, and then deposit that energy at a charging station by standing still (theorized to be placed near highly trafficked stop areas like bus stops and busy street corners). Imagine if the UGA student population were the ones to charge their own campus.
Best of all, glasses are being integrated with tech, allowing the wearer to record what they see. Despite Google’s fail with glasses in 2012, Snapchat is leading the way with their new Snap Spectacles. The wearer can record ten seconds of video that will be automatically saved to your Snapchat Memories, letting you get hand’s free recording wherever you are. If you’re a Snapchat addict, the $130 price tag might be worth it.
The possibilities are endless. Just like with smartphones, wearable technology will only get smaller, more powerful and more efficient. This current generation must be the one to support these industries. If we want to see a world where our lives are made convenient from the clothes we wear, we have to support these burgeoning industries first.
For those of us who are able to and find that the clothes can benefit their lives, take the opportunity to buy one of these devices. It will make your life easier and support the development of future, better products.