Usually when you see a new fitness shirt, it promises high tech, but really offers basic features such as moisture wicking and aerated fabric. If you’ve been disappointed every time then consider the Fraunhofer Fitness shirt as a real ‘high tech’ option. The shirt integrates actual technology into the fabric to give you a true futuristic workout. How does it work and what does it do? Keep reading to find out!
What is the FitnessSHIRT?
The FitnessSHIRT is an experimental shirt designed by German company Fraunhofer and the Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS. The shirt was originally designed as a sport shirt to monitor ECG and recording and is now being considered for use in the medical world as well. The shirt itself is simply fitted with sensors that pick up data from the body, which is then transmitted to a small unit containing a battery and most of the computing power in the shirt. This unit can be snapped out, and the shirt can be washed, which is somewhat necessary for any garment used for sports. What can the shirt tell you? The FitnessSHIRT monitors your heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, posture, movement, and respiratory activity through the textile electrodes fitted into the fabric and then transmits that data to your smart phone or computer.
How Does it Work?
The shirt was designed with an elastic band around the chest to ensure that the sensors are close enough to the body to gather respiratory and cardio data. The textile electrodes then pick up data based on ECG or the electrical activity from your heart and movements. This data is then interpreted and sent to you for performance and medical monitoring. Because the shirt measures your breathing ad your heart, it can be used to check and watch for breathing problems as well as heart issues, and can be used to monitor exhaustion, health problems, and basic performance.
While the shirt is not yet approved for medical usage, the shirt could alert people with weak hearts when their heart rate goes too high, or people with breathing problems when their breathing starts to change. In fact, shirts like this one could be used for professional athletes. Coaches monitoring apps from their players and team members could prevent tragedies of sports sudden deaths, many of which are brought on by exhaustion, heart attack, or a combination of the two.
While their use in sports is already being debated, others are considering rushing these shirts into hospitals and children’s hospitals, where getting kids to wear monitors for 24 hours is a near impossible experience. If the monitor were presented as a shirt rather than as a glue on or strap on device, it might be easier to effectively monitor their heart rate and vitals.
While the FitnessSHIRT seems like a great thing to buy for almost anyone involved in any type of sports, it’s unfortunately not on the market now. When added to the fact that it is coming out of Germany, most American’s can expect to wait several years before seeing this one in stores. Luckily, there are plenty of other similar options, but most do not offer respiratory monitoring.