Under Armour – the American sportswear giant that recently signed Jarryd Hayne – has come out and said it will beat the likes of Apple and Samsung to smart clothing.
Smart clothing – for those of you who don’t know – involves stitching tiny computer chips into shoes, shorts and tops. The digitally-enhanced garments will be especially useful for sportswear, hence Under Amour’s interest.
Smart clothes will be able to do anything from tell you how far you’ve run, calories burned, heart rate, right though to moderating the body’s temperature.
The technology will reportedly be so miniature the wearer will have no idea it’s even on them. It’s believed they will replace things like Fitbit watches and should start hitting shelves by about 2018.
That said, you will pay more for them and it’s thought only professional athletes will use the garments before teh concept eventually filters down to the general populace.
In a race to perfect the technology, it would appear it’s the sportswear retailers who are outgunning the big tech players. On top of Under Armour, Nike and adidas are also reportedly working hard on a smart clothes range.
Speaking to US media site Bloomberg, Under Armour’s CEO Kevin Plank said: “[Smart clothing] is our ambition. Somebody should be working on that, and not sitting around waiting for Apple or Samsung or someone else to build that type of apparel.
“We should be meeting them on the other side, so being that technical type of company.
“[Our customers] are saying ‘how does this work, I’m curious about biometric information.’ If I can give you a compelling case, why you should measure it, it’s the only thing in your life you don’t measure, whether it’s your stocks, or your bank balance. Why don’t you measure your own health?
The problem, Plank said, was that “nobody has made this easy, that’s part of the problem”. Under Amour wants it’s technology to work alongside “more than 400 different devices”.
Plank added: “Right now, if I have a Jawbone, use it for three months and it breaks, then I get a Fibit for Christmas, I now have to go to Fitbit.com. We want to create that dashboard where, regardless of your device, we are the ones that can be the central depository of your [data].”