In its first plunge into wearable technology, Ralph Lauren Corp. launched the PoloTech smartshirt, which collects a range of data including the wearer’s heart rate and number of calories burned, to support training efforts.
The introduction of the PoloTech shirt coincides with the inaugural collection of an athletic-focused, broader Polo Sport brand. As its halo product, PoloTech intersects performance technology and lifestyle fashion.
The PoloTech launch also included the introduction of an adaptive workout app that uses detailed data to tailor individualized training.
“The Ralph Lauren PoloTech shirt will change the way you look at fashion and apparel. It will give you knowledge you can use to lead a better life,” said David Lauren, EVP of global advertising, marketing and corporate communications. “This is a bridge between technology, fitness and style that approaches wellness and well-being in comprehensive and complementary ways. It will touch many parts of your life.”
Silver fibers with sensory receivers woven directly into the fabric track a range of stats, including heart rate and variability, breathing depth and recovery, intensity of movement, energy output and stress levels, steps taken and calories burned. A “black box” collects and processes the information using five connectors and contains a 3D accelerometer that captures intensity of movement based on three g-force measurements.
PoloTech’s “second-skin” fabric streams information directly to an iPhone, iWatch or iPod Touch and the app reacts based on that immediate data. The smartshirt was developed in partnership with proprietary technology from Canadian-based OMSignal. The PoloTech app workout routines were devised by Galvanized, the health and fitness media company founded by David Zinczenko.
The unique bio- and psychometrics inform a series of adaptive video workouts, during which the user’s performance in one exercise determines the intensity of the next, resulting in more than 10,000 possible combinations to create an optimal customized workout. The app also offers live fitness monitoring, reporting, and a unique “push rate” — rating exertion, power and effort.
There are three categories of workouts customized for users in real time:
- Cardio: works core, burns fat and amps power
- Strength: puts focus on chest, back, legs, shoulders, triceps and biceps
- Agility: designed to maximize quickness, precision and speed
“The PoloTech shirt points the way to the next generation of activewear. Going beyond the digital-only experience of today’s fitness platforms, it is the first product to bring advanced apparel technology and digital fitness technology together into one smart, connected apparel product,” said Stéphane Marceau, CEO, OMsignal.
The technology was tested at the 2014 US Open, where Ralph Lauren acted as Official Outfitter. Top-ranked college players making their debut at the tennis event, as well as an elite squad of official ball persons, were measured for relative fitness, heart rate, recovery, time spent in aerobic and anaerobic zones, calories and distance. At this year’s Open, Ralph Lauren will be hosting live demonstrations on site at the Polo Ralph Lauren store located on the lower level of Louis Armstrong Stadium. Smartshirts will be worn by live models in the window of the store with real-time biometrics displayed on an oversized screen showcasing the shirt’s capabilities.