Wearable Computing Meets Pilates Clothing

Seattle, WA – Jennifer Darmour, a wearable computing expert for Artefact, has developed a prototype Pilates shirt designed to monitor a person’s body position.

Using vibrations, sensors within the garment can notify wearers when it detects that body position is inaccurate.

Darmour’s vision is to develop tech that’s more organic and less obvious. She believes that adoption by the masses is something that will only begin to happen if wearable technology is hidden, putting more focus on attire aesthetics and less on computing features.

“It doesn’t look like a computer you’re wearing … It looks like a simple Pilates shirt,” Darmour said.

Darmour is focusing on three basic challenges that she believes must be overcome. Current devices are generally tech gadgets, constructed from hard plastics as opposed to flexible fabrics. A large amount of data is created fairly rapidly from recording and analyzing user movements, vital signs, and environmental information, making analysis difficult and tedious. And typical interactions that users have with current wearable computing devices are unnatural, often times requiring them to stop and attend to the device.

Artefact’s Pilates shirt, aka Move, is an attempt to solve these issues. Woven into the garment are four sensors. The sensors monitor body position and muscle movement, and can alert users to modify their current body position to meet an ideal posture using haptic feedback relayed to the user at the shirt’s shoulders and hips.

Darmour wants users to focus on precision movement.

The wearable computing expert focused on Pilates because it’s something that she is personally passionate about, but she envisions the same technology in other sport related clothing too, like golf shirts that could critique a player’s swing.

At this point the Move isn’t planned for mass production, it’s something the company wanted to showcase as a proof-of-concept that highlighted seamless wearable computing tech.

Artefact and Darmour see this as a fundamental shift in the way people interact and live with technology. “Your body becomes the interface … We’re going from interacting with it, to it interacting with us,” Darmour said.

Could we begin to see larger manufacturers like Nike or Adidas take a more organic approach to wearable computing? Darmour seems intrigued by the possibility of working with potential partners like Apple or Lululemon to create net-generation fitness garments. Could Apple be considering developing smart clothing? Under Armour sure looks like they are: