How Smart Clothing Will Shape the Future of Health and Fitness
Smart clothing is a rapidly growing segment of wearable technology manufacturing that is poised to transform the health and fitness industry. These garments, which go by many names—from e-textiles to smart fabrics—are outfitted with cutting-edge sensors, hardware, and textiles that allow for personalised insights, analysis, and monitoring capabilities that go far beyond the effects of traditional clothing.
The global smart clothing market was estimated to be worth $4.5 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach $20.6 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 21.1% over the analysis period (between 2022-2030). This indicates that the demand for smart clothing is rapidly increasing and is expected to continue in the coming years. As the technology used in smart clothing continues to improve, consumers can expect to see even more innovative ways that clothes can help them maintain and improve their health. From fitness enthusiasts to medical professionals, the future of health and fitness is looking smart.
Smart clothing has the potential to change the way people exercise. A company called Wearable X has introduced their one-of-a-kind smart yoga pants called Nadi X. These pants have the ability to sense when your yoga pose needs refining and provide haptic feedback by creating small vibrations on the body part that needs to be adjusted. The pants are connected to an app that offers instructions on how to perfect each pose and create a personalised yoga experience. This technology can make yoga more accessible and enjoyable for people who are new to the practice, and those who are more experienced.
Another notable example of smart clothing is Under Armour's smart clothing, which uses Celliant Technology. Under Armour and Celliant have collaborated to develop innovative smart apparel that utilises mineral-infused fabric to enhance performance and promote blood flow, allowing athletes to recycle their body's energy during workouts. By incorporating Celliant Technology into their smart clothing, Under Armour has created a new performance wearables category that enhances athletes' training and recovery. The infrared technology within UA RUSH™ reflects the body's energy, helping athletes work harder and recover faster. UA Recover includes sleepwear, sportswear, and even bed sheets and pillowcases that promote relaxation and faster muscle recovery.
The benefits of smart clothing go beyond just the individual level. Smart clothes offer medical professionals an opportunity to monitor and care for patients in a more efficient manner. For instance, Siren's Diabetic Socks and Foot Monitoring System use small sensors placed throughout the sock's fabric to measure the foot's temperature at different points. This data can detect ulcerations that often result in amputations, and the data can be sent to nurses for monitoring.
Researchers from Tohoku University in Japan have developed a fabric that can analyse a wearer's sweat to monitor their mental and physical health. This marks a significant breakthrough as fibre has been turned into wearable fabric for the first time—it has the potential to detect possible heart problems and other health issues by monitoring vital physiological signals in the wearer's perspiration.
Smart clothing is a fast-growing sector in wearable technology that is changing the way many people will, and do, approach their health and fitness. From improved exercise experiences to enhanced medical monitoring, the benefits of smart clothing are very promising.