Wearable Tech World Feature Article
February 19, 2013

Is Touchscreen Clothing in the Near Future?

While many athletes, professional and amateur, have turned to wearable technology in the form of wrist bands that measure heart rate, movement, calories burned and other bio-markers, Under Armor may be taking it even further into actual clothing.

Founded in 1996 by former University of Maryland football player Kevin Plank, Under Armour is a provider of performance apparel. Its latest product Armour39, is a chest strap that monitors athletic performance using something called “WILLpower,” a proprietary measurement for how hard an athlete pushes him or herself during a workout on a scale of 1-10, taking into account heart rate, calories burned and past performances and other metrics. The data can be measured in conjunction with the Armour39 watch, or with the use of an iOS app for iPhones to provide easy access to the data.

While this is pretty cool, what the company has in store in the future may be even cooler. Mashable is reporting this week that Under Armour recently released a commercial called “I Will” that touts the benefits of Armour39, but also touches on what it sees in its wearable technology equipment future: a concept suit that has touchscreen capabilities built directly into the fabric.

Touchscreen clothing, according to many wearable computing industry watchers, may be only a few years away. Users can touch the fabric of their shirts or other apparel to change colors and properties, or even control their electronic devices (without having to fish them out of pockets or purses).

While Under Armour’s purpose is clearly for sports performance, the “smart clothing” concept could revolutionize wearable medical monitoring and diagnostics. Imagine a shirt that could give a heart patient advance warning of a heart attack, or tell a diabetic that his or her blood sugar levels are abnormal. For simply fun purposes, clothing in the near future could interact with social media or even guide you to your destination using a combination of touchscreens and GPS capabilities.

View Under Armour’s promotional video above.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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