Saturday, November 14, 2015

Towards the Internet of Underthings

#WearableTech #InternetOfThings Once upon a time, the wires in an undergarment merely provided structural support. Now, people may have all sorts of wires and wireless devices hidden under their clothing. Here are some interesting examples.

  • The Foxleaf Bra delivers cancer-fighting drugs through the wearer's skin.
  • The @tweetingbra reminds women to examine themselves. (?)
  • The Lumo Lift helps improve posture through app-enabled coaching.
  • Various manufacturers (including Clothing+, OMsignal and SmartLife) produce health vests and sportswear packed with monitors to track your heart rate, breathing rate and the amount of calories you've burnt.

We are now encouraged to account for everything we do: footsteps, heartbeats, posture. Until recently this kind of micro-attention to oneself was regarded as slightly obsessional, nowadays it seems to be perfectly normal. And of course these data are collected, and sent to the cloud, and turned into someone else's big data. (Good luck with those privacy settings, by the way.)

If a device is classed as a medical device, it will be subject to various forms of accreditation and regulation. For this reason, many device makers will be careful to avoid any specific medical claims, but devices that offer some health advice are considered a borderline area.

Another borderline area is hi-tech underpants that protect men from the evil rays allegedly produced by all those wireless devices. Especially the radiation from mobile phones. (Including the Bluetooth that links your underwear to your smartphone.) One brand of underpants that claims to use a mesh of pure silver to create a Faraday cage around the genitals has been banned by the UK Advertising Standards Authority from making any medical claims.

Or maybe you could just switch the whole lot off.

The Wearable Medical Device in Your Future…Is Now! (Marketing Research Association, 28 April 2015)
Jennie Agg, The hi-tech bra that helps you beat breast cancer - and other clothes that can treat or prevent illness (Daily Mail, 10 March 2015)

Sarah Blackman, Student designs cancer-fighting bra (Lingerie Insight, 10 Feb 2015) 

Britta O'Boyle, SmartLife clothing claims to make sure you never miss a beat (Pocket-Lint, 12 March 2015) 

Rob Crilly, Hi-tech pants "protect sperm from phone waves" (Telegraph 22 October 2014)

Julie Papanek, How Wearable Startups Can Win Big In The Medical Industry (TechCrunch, 19 Feb 2015)

Hannah Jane Parkinson, Lumo Lift review: posture-tracking gadget is a straight shooter (Guardian, 14 November 2014) 

Helen Popkin, Tweeting bra exposed: Genuine support or publicity lift? (NBC News 25 October 2013)

Meera Senthilingam, How a high-tech bra could be your next doctor (CNN, 11 May 2015)

Brendan Seibel, High-Tech Underwear for Adventurous Geeks (21 April 2010)

Mark Sweney, Hi-tech underwear advert banned (Guardian 13 August 2014)

Dan Sung, World Cancer Day - The Real Wonderbra (Wearable, 14 Feb 2015)  

Related Posts Have you got big data in your underwear (December 2014)

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