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Data Analytics & Management

Smart jackets help their wearers

Clothing becomes a smart wearable in the service of humankind and at the same time a source of data. A US label wants to use it to ensure ideal body temperature, while a project in Darmstadt wants to make seniors more mobile.

29 Mar. 2018 Isabelle Reiff
Source: User Interface Design GmbH
Source: User Interface Design GmbH

First you freeze, then you sweat – thick winter jackets become a problem in the subway or shopping district. The Boston fashion label "Ministry of Supply" wants to remedy this with a jacket that adapts its thermal performance. The three incorporated carbon-fiber heating elements are controlled by an intelligent thermostat that learns the jacket wearer’s preferences. The database comes from the wearer’s voice commands and settings via the app, while the thermostat also measures outside and body temperature and uses accelerometers to anticipate an increase in body temperature. Ministry of Supply, founded in 2011 by four MIT students, also hopes to use the data generated to gain more knowledge about its customers, their patterns of activity and their wearing habits.

Project inDAgo is working on jackets intended to help people be more mobile. Together with partners such as Deutsche Bahn, TU Darmstadt and the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics, the Berlin-based User Interface Design GmbH has developed a mobility system with various wearables that assists seniors. The jacket by the name of "Spirit Guide" compensates for orientation problems by giving directional signals to the shoulders. It also learns about its wearer’s physical limitations, leveraging this to organize the routing, scheduling and choice of public transport. The jacket includes a foldable display and a smartwatch.