Ralph Lauren is diving into wearable technology waters with the unveiling of a high-performance, fashion-forward Polo Tech shirt on opening day of the US Open.
The Polo Tech shirt is an innovative new product from a fashion brand that merges biometrics into active lifestyle apparel, marking a revolution in advanced technology designed to improve general wellness and increase personal fitness.
The shirt features sensors knitted into the core of the product to read biological and physiological information.
As the official outfitter of the two-week U.S. Tennis Association tournament, Ralph Lauren is dressing several ball boys in the Polo Tech Shirt during select matches at the Billie Jean National Tennis Center. Marcos Giron, the No. 1 singles player in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, is playing in his first Grand Slam in Flushing, and he will wear the Polo Tech shirt during his practices. He will track his biometrics and making adjustments in real time to his play, form and breathing.
“Ralph Lauren continues to be at the cutting edge of fashion and culture,” said David Lauren, EVP of global advertising, marketing and corporate communications. “Our goal is to create and reflect the ultimate lifestyle, and we believe that a healthy and active life is an essential part of that. Ralph Lauren is excited to help lead the industry in wearable technology in this ever-evolving, modern world.”
David Brewer, US Open Tournament Director, said there are features in the Polo Tech shirt that can “revolutionize how players train and compete.”
“The fact that Ralph Lauren chose the US Open as the venue to unveil its Polo Tech shirt enhances our tradition as a showcase for innovation,” added Brewer.
Beyond elite athletes, however, Lauren also sees a place for the Polo Tech shirt in everyday life. “Our vision is that this will transcend sports to help us at every age and in every aspect of life. Reaching far beyond just the needs of elite athletes, Polo Tech will offer innovative technology for all ages and lifestyles to promote general wellness and quality of life,” he added.
The Ralph Lauren Polo Tech shirt was developed with proprietary technology from Canadian-based OMsignal, whose team includes experts in neuroscience, sports medicine and engineering. With OMsignal, the shirt itself is the sensor. The OM platform delivers a wide variety of physiological data through seamless apparel directly to the users via an app on their smartphone.
“It was clear from our very first meeting that Ralph Lauren had clarity of mind about the future of fashion tech,” said Stéphane Marceau, CEO of OMsignal. “Its legendary Polo brand and unparalleled design and merchandising capabilities make Ralph Lauren a natural partner to bring smart clothing technology into everyday lives."
With OMsignal, the data collected by the shirt is stored by a “black box,” which includes an accelerometer and gyroscope, which capture movement and direction. That ”black box” transmits the data into the cloud, where it is plugged into a number of algorithms that gauge important performance-oriented biometrics, including heartbeat and respiration, as well as some psychometrics, such as stress level and energy output.
As Ralph Lauren further expands its high-tech presence, this Polo Tech shirt represents the company’s most recent initiative in the technology realm. Its debut at the US Open marks the first time a global sporting event is being used as a platform to launch a collection of wearable products.