Fear of spreading the coronavirus is forcing humans to check their natural instincts to hug, shake hands and pat one another on the back, but a new technology by H&M Lab, the fashion firm’s German innovation hub, aims to fill in the gaps forced by the touch crisis.
The lab teamed with Berlin-based wearable tech solutions company Boltware to develop Wearable Love, a jean jacket outfitted with flexible sensors and tactile elements embedded into the shoulder areas. The sensors connect to H&M’s Wearable Love app via Bluetooth, so the wearer can transmit signals to the jacket that mimic the feeling of being touched.
Each jacket comes with a registration code for the app. After the wearer creates a profile, they can invite friends to connect via the app’s “Love Lists.” There, friends and loved ones can create individual touch patterns that they can send to the wearer as a digital reminder that they are thinking of them.
The Boltware device consists of a puck and a base, which function as a digital heart and brain for the garment. The removable puck is charged by a wireless charger and has a battery life of up to two weeks. The base is permanently integrated into the garment. The puck can be easily docked onto different pieces of clothing.
Consumers can sign up on a dedicated website for Wearable Love to receive more information about the jacket’s release.
Wearable Love augurs a more human side to wearable technology, perhaps a sign of the times as brands shift their marketing strategies to be more empathetic to the trials and tribulations of 2020.
While prior launches like Levi’s Jacquard by Google, a line of Trucker jackets with the ability to sync with the wearer’s mobile device, focused on accessing calls, messages, and music with just a tap of the wrist, brands are using wearable technologies to enhance emotional connections.
Using love as the foundation to their new capsule collection, too, Ganni and Levi’s recently launched “Love Letters,” a line of upcycled rental-only jeans with Near Field Communication technology-enabled patches. Through the tap of a smartphone, the patches unlock the garment’s history and details about its prior renters.