Project Management Institute

Next-gen workouts

organizations both new and old are sponsoring tech-heavy athletic apparel projects for data-hungry consumers

Wearable technology is going way beyond wrists.

After completing a two-year product development project with technology company OmSignal, Ralph Lauren in August introduced its men's PoloTech smart shirt. It features silver fibers that can record a wearer's heart rate, steps taken, calories burned and other data. The US$295 Bluetooth-enabled shirt streams data to an iPhone app, which can be used to customize workouts.

“Being first to market had a lot of complexities,” David Lauren, a Ralph Lauren executive, told Women's Wear Daily.

To understand and master those complexities, the organization took an iterative approach. It unveiled an early prototype at the 2014 U.S. Open, where ball boys wore the shirt. The project team then spent another year refining product features and creating the app.

Other U.S. companies have also launched projects to compete in the athletic tech clothing space. Athos, a California-based startup, makes sensor-filled smart workout leggings, while Sensoria has developed socks that use conductive fibers and magnetic attachments to track a person's running form. —Brigid Sweeney

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Ralph Lauren's PoloTech smart shirt

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