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Ralph Lauren Debuts a Polo Shirt That Tracks Physical Activity

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Luxurious brand Ralph Lauren joins Tory Burch in venturing into the world of wearable tech fashion. This week, the fashion brand debuted their first smart garment in Polo’s lineup during the 2014 US Open Tournament

The technology behind the shirt is a prototype developed for the tennis tournament by Canadian company OMsignal. The snug, black compression shirt monitors and gathers detailed information about the wearer’s heart rate, breathing, activity, and so on directly to a smartphone or tablet.

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The shirt has a stretchy band, under the pectorals, that contains conductive threads that contact the skin. A small module that weighs less than 1.5 ounces, which Ralph Lauren calls the “Black Box,” receives heart-rate and breathing data from those threads and relays it to a Bluetooth-connected iPhone or iPad. During the tournament, they were worn by the ball feeders to track their activities. 

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“A lot will come in the next few months,” said David Lauren, Ralph Lauren’s Executive Vice President of Global Advertising and Marketing in a recent interview. “We are a lifestyle brand, a major luxury fashion brand. I want to be able to gather this (biometric) information in a boardroom or from a baby in a crib. We’ll find new needs, and we’re just at the beginning.”

Before you open a new tab to purchase the “smart shirt,” warning that they will not be available for sale until 2015.

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About the Author

Camila is a writer and community manager for Tech Cocktail in Miami. She has been heavily active in South Florida’s tech startup community, where she co-founded a communication strategy company called pFunk Media. Camila previously worked at Greenpeace International and the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in various communication roles. A proud Brazilian who spent most of he life in Peru, she is passionate about traveling and documentaries.

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