Vital Technology?


In today’s world, it’s safe to say we are addicted to information. Most of us check Facebook much more than we’d ever admit, Tweet about the most insignificant events, and closely monitor our Web traffic stats. Not to mention that we’d pay $200-$500 and monthly service fees for the device that allows us to access that information wherever we go.

But would we be as quick to invest in information about our health? Some major fitness brands are banking on it.

At this year’s NFL scouting combine, Sportswear giant Under Armour previewed its E39 “smart” shirt, which monitors users’ biometric data such as heart rate, breathing rate, and acceleration. The compression shirt, which will be available in 2012, collects and stores the health data and then transmits it to a computer or handheld device.

Adidas is already offering similar products – a sports bra and compression shirt -- as part of its miCoach line, and Reebok has announced a partnership with electronics start-up MC10 to create athletic apparel stuffed with flexible electronics.

Both Under Armour and Adidas are marketing the shirt for athletes and fitness gurus who want to enhance their training. Likewise, coaches could use the data to get the most out of their athletes.

While it will be interesting to see if health stats become as addicting as Facebook statuses, we also wonder if that knowledge will help consumers cozy up to the idea of connected healthcare.

Smart clothing company AiQ thinks it will. The technology company expects its BioMan shirt, which monitors and transmits biometrics data, to be adopted first by bikers and runners, but then has plans to extend its offering into senior home care.

“In developed countries, the population of the senior and the demand of related care services are increasing,” says Steve Huang, vice president of AiQ. “In the circle of telecare, both advanced telecommunication and wearable technologies are required. Wearable technology is less mature, which is the last mile for the perfect telecare. We firmly believe the wearable electrodes will play an essential role in the near future.”

Do you agree? Will users consider their heart rate to be as vital as their latest friend request? As technology becomes more advanced – and we become more mobile – one would only hope that we’d be smart enough to leverage those advancements to better our own health.

And, of course, it would give us one more thing to Tweet about.

Connected World Issue
June/July 2014
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