Smart socks from Heapsylon are among the latest boundary pushing innovations in wearable technology.
Jul 24 2013

The March Toward Wearable Technology Can't Stop, Won't Stop

It seems like every piece of our wardrobe is getting a tech-lift thanks to the wearable invasion.

Nothing in your closet is safe from the wearable gadget invasion.

Don’t believe me? Brace yourselves: Our socks are about to get smart.

Crafty inventors at Redmond, Wash.-based startup Heapsylon have figured out a way to make our socks high-tech, according to a report from CNET. The tech-infused socks work with an electronic ankle bracelet to monitor foot stride and track fitness information such as calories burned and more.

The founders at Heapsylon include former Microsofters from the company’s XBox Kinect division, so the hands crafting these smart socks are uniquely experienced in human-computer interaction tech.

The good news is that they’re washable, so our tech-friendly socks won’t develop unpleasant foot odors for the sake of functionality.

While fitness is an obvious use case for wearable technology, more companies and entrepreneurs are testing the waters beyond exercise. Even newborns are getting in on the wearable fun.

PSFK reports on a smart diaper being developed by New York-based startup Pixie Scientific. The diaper, which pairs with a mobile app, is equipped with special chemical agents that respond to proteins in the baby’s urine to check for “possible urinary tract infections, kidney dysfunction and dehydration.” This information can then be transmitted to the child’s physician.

There’s no word on how these smart diapers handle or analyze when babies go number 2, but perhaps that feature will be rolled out with version 2.0.

While babies with smart diapers is cute, the U.S. Army is also taking a hard look at smart briefs to better track the health and performance of soldiers in the field, Digital Trends reports.

Researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command office and the Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center hope to use underwear embedded with wearable technology to better assess which soldiers would perform best under pressure. Digital Trends has more details:

Utilizing gel-free sensors, the high-tech underoos gather the collected vitals from a soldier and relay it to a central system allowing for an unprecedented level of monitoring and training soldiers on and off the battlefield. In theory, soldiers that maintained more balanced vital levels during stressful training situations could then be picked for missions with a greater degree of difficulty.

While it’s funny to think about technology in our undies, it underlies a desire by users to adopt technology in a way that’s as seamless and natural as, well, putting on your underwear. It also speaks to how trusting we’ve become of devices.

With wearable devices predicted to number around 171 million by 2016, according to IMS Research, we can expect to see more wild and innovative wearable experiments along the way.

But if our diapers, underwear and socks are all going smart, TSA security screenings might get a little more interesting.

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