When we talk about wearable technology, we automatically think about wristband or watches. Arguably the wrist is probably the best place to pop a tracking device, where it can monitor the pulse and relay back information.
But what with the rise of athleisure and the importance of looking smart whilst you are exercising, not everyone wants a bulky band on their body.
Step forward smart clothes, where technology meets material. The most obvious place to stick a few sensors is where the clothing first touches your skin, so, hello underwear. And one company have come up with the ideal item of smart clothing – the sports bra.
OMbra has been painstakingly designed in the last year by a team of scientists, engineers, and sports bra experts who, together, have over 25 years of experience within the smart textile technology industry.
The OMbra is as much a work of technological genius as it is a fashion item, as during the last year, over 1633 prototypes were developed to test every variable and every possible scenario.
The focus of the OMbra centred on biomechanics (the study of the mechanical aspects of human exercise) and providing the support that any proper sports bra would.
The designing of the OMbra
The team first examined the typical problems women faced when purchasing a sports bra.
They found that:
- More than 70% of women do not pick the right size bra
- The most common complaint regarding sports bras are the straps
- The way a woman runs will actually change depending on how the breasts are supported
The main aim of the team was to make sure all these points were addressed before moving on to the technological side.
Using their findings they combined four key elements:
- Stretchable fabric –The fabric stretches in four directions which allows it to conform to the body when it moves.
- Mesh – The fabric has sweat-wicking properties to keep the body dry.
- Adjustable straps and closure – The bra can be adjusted depending what sport is being undertaken. During any type of action, the breasts not only move up and down by left to right as well. The OMbra keeps the breasts in place with the help of the adjustable straps, lateral stitches and double-layered compressive sides. The racerback takes the strain from the straps and dissipates it to the sides.
- Cups – Removable padded cups add to the support as it was found that women do not want a flat chest, just because they are wearing a sports bra.
The Technology behind the OMbra
The OMbra uses a conductive yarn that can accurately track your breathing rhythm, your biometric effort and how well you have performed after each workout.
Because the fabric used is quick-drying, you will always get reading not matter how hard you have trained.
The OMbra works with a smartphone app which downloads all the data received from the bra and transforms it into readable statistics that you can then use to improve your next performance.
You can also use OMrun which gives far more insight into how well you have performed. It shows you how much oxygen you have used, how many footsteps for each breath, how much level of effort you are putting into each session etc.
The OMbra should be available in the spring with prices expected to be around $150.