Smart clothing is getting smarter in Europe with the development of cloud-based wearable technology.
In a meeting of the minds last month, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)–leader of the EASY-IMP: Collaborative Development of Intelligent Wearable Meta Products project–held a collaborative kick-off to discuss the function of EASY smart clothing or meta products. A meta product is a customer-driven customizable entity that incorporates sensory and computing technology.
The new clothing, according to a DFKI statement, would integrate sensors to detect motion or user vitals, could then be configured via smartphone and the resulting data could be downloaded to an app and stored in the cloud.
DFKI says the first application for the smart clothing will be in the sports fields for things like personal training, performance tracking, remote coaching technique or correction, gaming and medicine rehabilitation and assisted living for elderly.
Here’s the idea: You buy a jacket with built-in sensors. You download a corresponding sports app to your phone and set up your jacket. The jacket then detects your physical movement and downloads the data to your app and breaks it down to evaluate your performance, kind of like a personal fitness trainer. If you want to share your information, data can be transferred to the cloud for others to access or for use on social media.
Dr. Didier Stricker, a DFKI professor said at the meeting, “The connection of the customer’s application to modular, flexible and adaptive production modules changed the entire production cycle and opens new perspectives for human-oriented production models.”
With these types of personalized products, all stakeholders in the value chain would be involved in the production process. Companies, designers, sensor manufacturers, software developers and experts (coaches, medical professionals, game developers) would all be part of product planning, service integration and product applications, according to DFKI. Considering this collective effort, customers could choose design options, installable components and even configure functionalities based on personal needs and design preferences.
Eleven organizations are partnering with DFKI on the project including, Interactive Wear AG (Germany), UniversitÃ© LumiÃ¨re Lyon (France) and Athens Technology Center SA (Greece).
DFKI says, with the EASY-IMP project, they are still working to develop the “missing methods, tools and appropriate infrastructure to carry out a paradigm shift from mass production to customizable, intelligent, configurable via the Internet production.”