Ralph Lauren Taps Biotech Firm for 'Smart Shirt' That Tracks Breathing

Aug 25, 2014 03:47 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

Designer Ralph Lauren has partnered with biometrics firm OMSignal to create a wearable "smart shirt" that tracks activity, heart rate and more.

The Polo Tech shirt will debut at this year's U.S. Open, where it will be worn by ball boys at the tournament, Mashable reported.

Black with a yellow logo, the compression garment fits to the body and has a black module attached in a band just below the chest. The module holds a Bluetooth transmitter along with an accelerometer and gyroscope.

"The shirt is the sensor," said OmSignal co-founder and CEO Stephane Marceau, as quoted by Mashable. "We capture what we call the 'ABC' of health and wellness. A is for activity, movement ... B is for breathing, C is for Cardiac."

Following the movements of a person's chest, the shirt works through built-in sensors that track breathing. The conductive fabric also serves to "read" the wearer's heart rate.

The actual shirt is washable as long as the snap-on module is removed first.

Ralph Lauren designers had almost total control over the shirt's style, only restrained by anything that would work against the garment's smart qualities. The company is looking to introduce more colors and styles of the wearable and eventually to introduce the technology into everyday Polo wear, including suits, shirts and baby clothes.

"Our goal is to create and reflect the ultimate lifestyle, and we believe that a healthy and active life is an essential part of that," David Lauren, executive vice president of global advertising, marketing and corporate communications, said in a statement. "Ralph Lauren is excited to help lead the industry in wearable technology in this ever-evolving, modern world."

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