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Ralph Lauren Taps Into Wearables and Fitness Apps

Ralph Lauren is set to launch the PoloTech smartshirt this week, a key item in the revamped Polo Sport collection positioned to have a broader, more athletic focus.

The smartshirt, developed in partnership with smart apparel company OMSignal, uses silver fibers woven into the fabric as sensory receivers. The receivers provide real-time biometric data, including heart rate and variability, breathing depth and recovery, intensity of movement, energy output and stress levels, steps taken and calories burned. The “black box” that collects and processes the information uses five connectors and contains a 3D accelerometer that captures intensity of movement based on three g-force measurements.

The release of the shirt, slated for August 27, will be accompanied by the introduction of a workout app that uses data to create individualized training for maximum results. The app is compatible with the Apple iPod Touch 5th Generation and above, or iPhone with iOS 8 and up.

Sensors in the fabric stream information directly to smart device. Based on the biometrics the app receives, the app choose a series of adaptive video workouts, which include exercises for cardio, strength and agility. The wearers’ performance in one exercise determines the intensity of the next video workout, with a possible 10,000 combinations. The app also offers live fitness monitoring, reporting and a “push rate” to rate exertion, power and effort.

The technology was first tested at the 2014 US Open, where the shirt was worn by a top-ranked college player, as well as a squad of ball persons. Each wearer was measured for relative fitness, heart rate, recovery, time spent in aerobic and anaerobic zones, calories and distance.

“The Ralph Lauren PoloTech shirt will change the way you look at fashion and apparel. It will give you knowledge you can use to lead a better life,” said David Lauren, executive vice president of global advertising, marketing and corporate communications, in a statement. “This is a bridge between technology, fitness and style that approaches wellness and well-being in comprehensive and complementary ways. It will touch many parts of your life.”

The PoloTech smart shirt will be available online, at Ralph Lauren’s global flagship in New York City and at the US Open store on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the brand will hold daily demonstrations.