KeKeBoard wearable platform lets makers clothes the gap to smart apparel

In creating smart textiles, a lot of materials, soldering and sewing are needed. At this stage in smart textile production, though, the materials are large, the amount of soldering needed on delicate materials gets in the way of the garment’s form, and the amount of sewing needed is oftentimes tiresome. In short, making more comfortable, better looking smart clothing is missing something that could take the process of making it up a notch.

The KeKeBoard is a plug-and-play wearables platform designed specifically to address the many pain points found in smart textile creation and offer a wide range of options for makers, artists and engineers. Its use of proprietary, Teflon-insulated Ke cables come in at just .3mm in diameter — far smaller than the standard 3-pin JST connector cables common now. This allows for many more options in terms of textile selection and design.

Apparel Fitness Wearables

The Hexoskin Smart is a Bluetooth-enabled second skin for your second wind

More and more, wearables are trending towards clothing with embedded technology versus additional and mostly cumbersome devices that ultimately get in the way of an efficient exercise, for instance. 2013’s Hexoskin, a sensor-embedded shirt able to generate data on heart rate, calories burned, movement, etc., was a sneak peek at the idea. Now, the company is back with their second generation Hexosin Smart.

In addition to the shirt’s ability to analyze exercise intensity, fatigue, recovery, breathing, and sleep quality, it is now outfitted with Bluetooth Smart technology, allowing it to work on a wide array of the most popular exercising apps like Strava, MapMyRun and Argus.

Apparel Wearables

Tracky motion capture sportswear tracks whole body movements

Wearable fitness devices tend to be limited in what movements and physical activities they can track. Some exercise and fitness enthusiasts would no doubt be interested in smart sportswear that can accurately track all their movements and activities while they are working out.

Tracky motion capture sportswear from the Project Pole company in Bangalore, India, is designed to accomplish exactly that. It is made up of a compression T-shirt and compression pants that are armed with several sensors to record physical movements, along with heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature. The product contains as many as 11 motion sensors combined. Data collected includes biomechanical analysis and can be used for comparative study and performance evaluation. In addition to storing the data in the cloud, Tracky will inform users whether they are meeting set goals while exercising, and also provide tips on how to improve their fitness activities. The sensors transmit the data to a small hub unit that processes the data and then sends it to a mobile app for iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Windows support is also planned.

Tracky, like the similar Heddoko, holds promise for a very niche audience of fitness enthusiasts who won’t mind wearing a nearly full body suit while exercising. It’s also impossible to gauge how comfortable it will be from watching an online video—if it’s uncomfortable, there will likely be few takers.

Backers who provide $179 as part of an early bird special, or $199 as part of an Indiegogo special, can expect the product in September of this year. The latter price is 20 percent less than the expected retail price. Project Pole is hoping to raise $30,000 for the campaign by March 13.

Apparel Cell Phone Accessories

Gravity Link offers magnetic pocket, will take your iPhone and lock it

Gravity Link 91e255aa08693af344c9207e3fe137b6_large[1]You won’t find any sign of Sandra Bullock or George Clooney here. But the concept for Gravity Link is combines a shirt pocket with magnetic force that allows you to lock your mobile in place so it doesn’t fall out of your pocket. You can also stick it to the outside of your pocket for hands free phone conversations, listening to your favorite songs on your music app, or recording your friends attempting to dance as a live band jams while you’re all hanging out at the local pub. Pop the iPhone in upside down to get easy access to Siri. Unfortunately, the Gravity Link is linked to its own shirt so it won’t work with yours unless you’re Audi-driving, sunglasses-wearing developer Coal Kolivas. For $50, backers get a T-shirt with the specialized pocket with an estimated delivery of May 2014. Higher reward tiers should net long-sleeve shirts and other apparel.