Fitness trackers are on the rise, with many different products that can track everything about your fitness and health. Even the Government is getting in on the action, and have released a fitness tracker you can get for free! This is a part of the returning National Steps Challenge Season 4, which is an initiative to encourage Singaporeans to keep fit by walking every day. Here’s how to get yours. There are also various other ones, such as Withings Steel HR Sport, a smartwatch which can track various sports and even your sleep schedule!
You’ve probably heard of all the different ways to track your fitness by now, from the many trackers to the numerous smartphone apps available. But, I bet you’ve never heard of this unique fitness “device”, the smart shirt. Smart… shirt? You read that right, after the success of “smart” items such as smart fridges, smart home gyms and even smart home systems, a new challenger has arrived.
The aforementioned smart shirt was a joint effort by local start-up KaHa, textile company Tex Line and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). But what can it really do?
Like any fitness tracker, it can track your heart rate, burned calories and step counts. You can also track your electrocardiography (ECG) and detect any cardiac abnormalities using the T-shirt via a mobile app.
It sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? With this T-shirt, you don’t need to carry around your fitness tracker and worry about leaving it somewhere or having it stolen.
Well sadly, it’s not available on the market yet. It’s not very surprising, considering how much work it probably takes to modify an advanced electronic device and fit it into a T-shirt.
There is good news, though. In the recent one-north Run this past Sunday, the t-shirt was tested by about 100 out of the 2,500 runners.
According to a report in Channel News Asia, many runners were interviewed about the shirt. “The accuracy of the ECG is quite good, they actually capture the heart rate variance,” said 43-year-old seasoned runner Adrian Mok, who frequently uses heart rate monitors for his runs. “I think the comfort level is okay, and there’s a lot of potential with the product.”
Mr Alvin Tan, a 39-year-old banker, said: “This app is very useful because it really helps me track my heartbeat per minute before my run and while I’m running. It tells me whether I’m taking it too relaxed, or if I’m pushing too much.”
Clothing manufacturer Jereme Tan, 23, said the outfit could be made more comfortable.
“There’s room for improvement. But I think overall the product is good, one step for Singapore to enter this whole market of wearables,” he said.
While it is not completely ready yet, things are looking good for this emerging product. Considering that the one-north Run had a 5km and 10km competitive race, this T-shirt being able to last the full distance without being affected by the sweat is quite promising.
According to the same report, KaHa was also asked for a few words.
“This application can be used not only in homes but in hospitals for monitoring of patients,” said Ms Sim Seo Lay, head of business development and operations of KaHa.
“It can also be at the corporate uniform industry, which can monitor workers’ performances and health as well. It can also be used for children’s wear as well as for senior citizens and caregivers and so forth.”
While runners get a convenient way to track their runs, the shirt might also be useful for everyone. Look out for this in the near future!
By Muhd Farhan