Star Trek Lifestyle: When Shirts Start Communicating
Whenever I search for the latest technology, I realize that we’re about to live a Star Trek-like existence. Live long and prosper people. Due to advances in computer capabilities, the creation of the internet, and increasing production of smart technologies, we’re moving on to the final frontier with wearable technologies. It seems like the most obvious next step right? With the release of Pebble in 2013, a smartwatch created by Pebble Technology and based on Eric Migicovsky’s design, people are now able to use their watches to communicate with Android and iOS devices. Even more exciting, Pebble has just released their own App Store where consumers can find apps like Tweeble and PebbleBucks. For those of us who can’t step away from Twitter, Tweeble gives you access to Twitter and maintains many of the same functions as the normal app, including the ability to compose a tweet. With PebbleBucks, you’re now able to purchase your next Starbucks chai tea (I love those) from your watch. Yay!
I place technology like Pebble in the win column, and I may continue winning with wearable technology moving into fashion. A Montreal-based company known as OMsignal Technology has created bio-sensor garments, including a compression shirt. OMsignal Technology (who has raised $1.2 million from Real Ventures, Golden Ventures, Mistral Ventures and David Cohen) has created a compression garment that is waterproof, has moisture management, and even odor control. The garment is able to connect through Bluetooth to update the information obtained by the built-in sensors and display this information on the company’s OMsignal app. The app provides real-time data on heart rate, breathing, and activity. Also, the shirt is able to have continual data capture even if you’re not near your phone. OMsignal’s co-founder, Stephane Marceau, believes that apparel companies will increasingly embed sensors into clothing to transmit physiological data in real time. Take a look at the commercial.
This means that the “old days” of wearing devices like smartwatches to provide biofeedback, could be behind us by simply putting on a shirt. Because, you know, smartwatches are so outdated — so 2013. I’m kidding of course, but this is a clear example of how technology is rapidly changing. I can’t help but be intrigued, and that spurred me do a quick Google search to find out where I can get this new product. I’m telling you now, don’t waste your time searching. I haven’t found any information that OMsignal’s bio-sensor compression shirt has been released. What I do know is that Marceau and partners would prefer major performance apparel brands like Nike and UnderArmour integrate OMsignal’s technology with their fashions. I’m enthusiastic about the possibilities of the technology, but we have a few people out there who won’t let us live happily.
The major concern with this technology is how will it be used. Yes consumers may want to use the garments in the exact way that the commercial indicates. However, what if this information was hacked or given away? I have written about the Internet of Things, and wearable technologies would also be considered an IoT. The more technology used and data captured, the more we open ourselves up to being monitored. Many have questioned the possibility of the information being given to insurance companies, and how that may affect coverage and price. I wish I could answer these questions for all of the people interested in the product, but the technology is so new that I can’t begin to tell you which way this will go. OMsignal has created this technology to promote healthier living but we all know the saying, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I truly hope the technology will be used for its intended purposes and that safety measures are implemented to protect consumers. Whatever the case, I’m excited to see what comes of this technology, and I look forward to buying it in the future.
Teerah Goodrum (@AisleNotes), is a graduate student at Howard University with a concentration in Public Administration and Public Policy. Her time on Capitol Hill as a Science and Technology Legislative Assistant has given her insight into the tech community. In her spare time she enjoys visiting her favorite city, Seattle, and playing fantasy football!
Featured image courtesy of [Eric Steuer via Flickr]