Headline June20, 2014



OMsignal is a part of a new breed of young companies focusing on wearable technology. We're not talking about Google Glass here.

These are the products made out of biometeric materials, or smart textiles. And, yes, these products are starting to hit the market. Their fans say:

 They could represent the future of wearable computing.

Lots of people have fitness bands that can monitor their health. Whether these products deliver all they promise is questionable. But why wear a wristband when you're already wearing clothes?

Weave some sensors into the fabric, and you've one accessory fewer to worry about.

''Smart Clothing is easy because it's the only wearable medium you've already been wearing your whole life,'' said Stephane Marceau, a co-founder of OMsignal. ''In a decade, every piece of apparel you buy will have some sort of biofeedback sensors built in it.''

Many challenges must be overcome first, not the least of which is the price. OMsignal shirts start at $80, but they also need a module, which power's the shirt and talks to its sensors. That costs $120. But the shirt is machine washable.

''The leap that you have to make from a prototype or small-lot sizes of these wearables to an affordable mass market product is pretty significant," said Jonathan Gaw, a research manager for IDC Research. ''The price is going to have to come way down before it becomes a product for most consumers.''

Mr. Gaw said wearable apparel would be used first for fitness, wellness and medical applications by a select group of consumers. He warned that it could be slow going for most people.

In terms of these being mainstream, and something that people will use on a daily basis, you're getting into a Buck Roger's territory there," he said.

But Mr. Marceau of OMsignal said that consumers were getting to a point where they want more information about themselves.

"The first cars were completely blind. Then you had a gas gauge. Then a speedometer. Now you can't imagine a car without these things."  he said.
''Smart clothing is starting to do the same thing for the human body.''  

Most smart textile products use conductive yarns that can transmit electrical signals.

The sensors woven into these materials are either so small that you can't see them or so flexible you don't notice them.

While many of these garments require a battery pack of sorts, some are experimenting with applications whereby a smartphone can transmit power and Internet access to sensors and screens that are attached to the clothing.

''This type of fabric, until now, was a laboratory experiment, and co companies were able to develop something that would be a mass-scale product,'' said Eliane Filet,  co-founder of  Ubergizmo,  the technology website.

''Now you have companies that are claiming to figure out a manufacturing process that is viable to introduce these garments at scale,'' Mr Fiolet said incorporating sensors into clothing, rather than wristbands, made sense.

Clothing, after all covers more of the body.

These sorts of gadgets are already creeping out of labs. Cityzen Sciences, based at Lyon, France, makes T-shirts that have microprocessors embedded in the fabric.

These sensor's can monitor a person's temperature, heart rate and location. The company won the award for most  innovative  new product at the year's Consumer Electronic Show.

Sensilk, based in San Francisco, is making a smart bra with sensors in to track a wearer's fitness.

And the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has funded a number of projects to make wearable computerized clothing for soldiers.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of technology have developed a product called   WearArm,   which is a computing platform like  iOS or Android, but one designed specifically for smart clothing.

The possibilities don't end there.

A number of universities and research labs have experimented with wearable that can help blind people navigate city streets, such as:

Gloves that vibrate when a user needs to make a turn. And then there is Studio Roosegaarde, a design lab in the Netherlands. It has developed a dress called Intimacy 2.0 with an opaque fabric that becomes transparent at times when its wearer gets moody and excited.

With respectful dedication to the great innovators, inventors, and abstractionists of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless :

''' Disruptions And T-shirts '''

Good night and God bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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