Several of the ball boys at this year’s U.S. Open, which kicks off this week, will be trying out Ralph Lauren’s new ‘Polo Tech’ short, the iconic brand’s introduction into wearable technology: a black compression jersey that uses a system of discreet sensors to track its wearer’s biological and physiological profile. A double play with OMSignal a Montreal startup specializing in bio-sensing clothing, the Polo Tech Shirt is the first item of tech apparel to emerge from a mainstream fashion label.[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/zipGvqaSJiE” title=”polo%20tech”]
The form-fitting shirt features Ralph Lauren’s distinctive polo player—in bright yellow, —on its chest. Less visible are the silver-coated conductive threads that have been woven into the fibers. A “black box,” which includes an accelerometer and gyroscope, transmits data about the wearer’s heart rate, breathing depth, energy output, and even stress levels into the cloud, where it can be retrieved by a smartphone in real time.
David Brewer, U.S. Open’s tournament director, says the Polo Tech shirt could “revolutionize how players train and compete.”
“The fact that Ralph Lauren chose the U.S. Open as the venue to unveil its Polo Tech shirt enhances our tradition as a showcase for innovation,” Brewer says in a statement.
Ralph Lauren “continues to be at the cutting edge of fashion and culture,” according to David Lauren, executive vice president 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.”
The ball boys won’t be the only ones flaunting the brand’s new wearable tech. Marcos Giron, the No. 1 singles player in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, will use the Polo Tech shirt to track his biometrics, before his first Grand Slam in Flushing.
Besides athletics, Lauren also sees a place for the Polo Tech in daily life. “Our vision is that this will transcend sports to help us at every age and in every aspect of life,” he says. 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.”