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US Open to Show Off Polo Smartshirts
By: Jessica Cherok
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Ralph Lauren’s Polo Tech shirts are helping to track the biometrics of some of the US Open ball boys. The smartshirt will provide real-time information via its Bluetooth connection to an iPad or iPhone.

The shirt contains conductive threading throughout, as well as a rechargeable band that snaps around the lower rib cage. The band is what collects the heart rate and other biometric information. There is a corresponding iOS app specific to tennis. Wearers can get about 30 hours of time from the shirt before recharging.

Ralph Lauren is hopeful for big possibilities in the future, according to their VP of global advertising and marketing. They see the technology gathering “information in a boardroom or from a baby in a crib.”

The information being collected from ball boys in the US Open will include heart rate, respiration, steps taken and calorie burning. Ralph Lauren expects to expand beyond tennis, as well as add more “fabrics, colors, and fits” to their lineup of smartshirts.

Wearable tech is experiencing quite a boom recently, with rising popularity in smart clothing and accessories. FitBit, for example, recently announced a partnership with Tory Birch, a high-end clothing line. Similar pairings included Google Glass and Warby Parker. Both examples show the willingness of consumers to integrate tech into brands they already buy from.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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