Wearable technology is a hot trend these days. It seems like everyone is making a smart activity tracker, fitness band or a smartwatch. For a company like Ralph Lauren the approach has to be a bit different. Since everything that it already makes is “wearable” in the true sense of the word, the company stuck with that, and infused technology into a new t-shirt that will made its debut at the U.S. Open today. The shirt is capable of monitoring breathing, heart rate, stress levels and collect all of that data which is then relayed to a companion app.
Tennis stars from around the world who are competing at the U.S. Open won’t be the ones sporting these new shirts. It will be the ball boys who are tasked with retrieving stray balls on court.
David Lauren, the executive vice president for advertising, marketing and corporate communications for Ralph Lauren says that data collected from the shirt reveals how much stress a ball boy is under “when Roger Federer is handing him a ball,” “you can actually see his heart rate spike,” he says.
The form-fitting nylon t-shirt sporting a Ralph Lauren logo up front doesn’t look too different when compared to a conventional t-shirt. However what many will miss is the conductive silver-coated thread that has been woven discreetly into the fiber. The t-shirt isn’t capable of doing things like answering phone calls and sending messages like smartwatches, but it is capable of measuring vital physical data without weighing the person down.
Ralph Lauren won’t be stopping here. It has plans to integrate technology into its dress shirts later this year, exactly how much these shirts will cost is yet to be revealed.