The FitnessSHIRT reads out physiological signals like pulse and breath continuously when worn. The interpreted data can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet PC, for example.

We have smartphones, smart watches, Google Glass, Fitbits, but the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS wants to usher in the next wave of smart products as early as next year. The Fraunhofer Institute’s FitnessSHIRT – announced in early November – “continuously measures physiological signals such as breathing, pulse, and changes in heart rate – metrics of adaptability and stress load.”1

The FintessSHIRT has conductive textile woven right in, which allows it to effectively capture various cardio activity. Further, the shirt has an elastic band around the upper body, which serves to measure the motion of the chest during breathing. Combined with the conductive textile and elastic band, the shirt has a detachable unit that serves to manage all the collected data:

A removable electronic unit attached with snaps digitizes the raw data and calculates additional parameters like pulse rate or breath rate with the help of algorithms. The data are transmitted via radio link to a smartphone or optionally to a PC, where they are evaluated further and can be stored. These parameters form the basis for judging vital functions like stress, performance, exertion, or relaxation.2

A shirt sure beats getting strapped up to a bunch of monitors.

The FitnessSHIRT made such an impression, that the Fraunhofer Institute has already formed a partnership with the developers of the MENTORbike. According to the creators its creators:

MENTORbike is an intelligent outdoor assistance system for adaptive and mobile training. In essence, MENTORbike is a modified “Pedelec” – a hybrid bicycle powered either by muscle strength or an electric motor. The Pedelec is connected via a smartphone to a sensor network worn on the body and linked to an intelligent, internet services platform.3

BikeIt seems like a natural fit, and the MENTORbike and FitnessSHIRT have already developed a working plan for the partnership. The FitnessSHIRT will have a wireless connection via smartphone to the pedelec and the user service website, where all the cardio and health data can be viewed. Further, “the smartphone, mounted on the bicycle handlebars, will collect the vital parameters it receives like pulse and breath rate as well as the physical data, for instance the energy expended and the speed, analyzes them, and cuts in the electric motor as needed.”4 It will be interesting to track the rise of the smart clothing.

  1. Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, “Intelligent training with a Fitness Shirt and an E-bike” Nov 04, 2013.  
  2. Ibid  
  3. “MENTORbike – On the Road With the Training Consultant,”  
  4. Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, “Intelligent training with a Fitness Shirt and an E-bike” Nov 04, 2013.