Ladies and gentleman, the era of wearable technology is here, ready or not! While currently in its infancy, wearable technology already exist in various forms from wristbands, to watches or even tattoos. Then of course there is Google’s own highly ambitious Glass headware.
So what’s next for wearable tech? Imagine bio-sensing, smart clothes that can collect important information and communicate it back to your mobile devices. This might sound like something straight out of a Sci-Fi movie, but that’s exactly what OMsignal has been silently working on in “stealth mode” since 2011.
Yesterday, the company announced they were one step closer to making their ideas a reality thanks to $1 million in seed funding from Real Ventures, Gold Venture Partners and TechStars CEO David Cohen.
The company isn’t quite ready for commercial release just yet. The next step is to take their working shirt prototype and produce it in mass. After that, OMsignal hopes to get 100 units out to developers by the end of this year. OMsignals’ approach is sort of like Google Glass, where Google is first testing the waters with developers and then later plans for a wider commercial release.
So what exactly does OMsignal apparel do? The clothing monitors physical activity, ECG data and breathing patterns. It can then transmit this data to an accompanying smartphone app.
Ultimately these clothes will be designed to work in multiple forms and fashion. That means there will be “smart clothes” for just about every occasion.
Smart Clothing has an epic amount of potential
The company has a long ways to go before they hit commercial availability, but there is a ton of potential here.
In their promotional video, OMsignal demo’d a few possible uses of the tech. In one scene, a wife was notified of her husband’s rising stress levels so she could send him a comforting text. There was also an example where a woman was alerted when her father’s heart rate dramatically elevated, and so she was able to get get him to the hospital quickly.
There are also possible health, exercise, medical and even social uses for bio-sensing clothing. OMsignal says it is already working with interested companies in the medical field and elsewhere.
Of course this kind of tech has some downsides as well. First, don’t expect it to be super-cheap. More than likely the earliest forms of smart clothing will be around $100 or more when they first arrive to retail.
On the plus side, bio-sensing clothing is also very flexible, lighweight, unobtrusive and washable. It could certainly provide a great alternative to wristbands and other similar wearables.
This is just the beginning for “smart clothing”, and make no mistake about it, OMsignal is far from the only company or apparel brand interested in the technology. We are just scratching the surface here, folks.
As the technology advances, we could someday have smart clothes that can detect low blood sugar, heart attacks and other medical conditions. The tech could then relay all of this back to our mobile devices or even a doctor or professional careworker.
This is certainly exciting stuff. Don’t you just love living in the future? I know I do.