Workout Clothes Get the Technology Treatment

Jennifer Darmour is the Seattle-based owner and creative director at electricfoxy, a website that blends fashion, technology and interactive design. She is also a designer, and her newest creation is a top wich is also a personal trainer.

A vest that helps to correct the most common errors people make during a mat Pilates class

The garment, named the Move, was presented last July at the Wearable Technologies conference in San Francisco. It has four stretch-and-bend sensors strategically placed to help correct the most common errors people make during a mat Pilates class. The sensors are made of woven conductive thread and embedded to line the back, front and sides of the vest, tracking the wearer’s movements within 2mm precision, and analyzing them on the go. If the wearer’s posture is deemed incorrect, four actuators in the shoulder and hip areas vibrate gently to nudge the wearer into the right position.

A dedicated app analyses technique and details performance

The tank can also transmits detailed data of the wearer’s workout to his smart phone via Bluetooth, as an app analyses technique and detail performance. Users can also record their movement sequences and set targets for their next sessions, see where they tend to go wrong, and have suggestions on how they can improve.

“A lot of designers take a garment and just add blinking lights to it,” she says. “That has a place, but we need to move away from novelty towards really useful, beautiful systems. What I’m looking at is how you can connect these garments to software and data.” As she start to design the Move in early 2010 “The biggest challenge was the software and the logic behind that,” says Darmour. “Measuring different movements involves a lot of algorithms.”

The wearable instructor

Darmour reveals the idea came to her when she realized how much she was spending with her Pilates classes. So she started to think of ways to help the learning process. “I thought putting sensors in the clothing could give feedback to help you improve your technique a lot faster,” Darmour who works in product design for companies such as Microsoft,Google and BlackBerry, says.”It’s not meant to replace an instructor but it can certainly help you understand the technique even when the instructor isn’t around.”

“Design, aesthetics and style become core to the experience”

“As soon as you put these things on your body, design, aesthetics and style become core to the experience,” says Darmour. Made from the same kind of materials that are used for regular exercise clothing, the tank is very comfortable and “washing maching friendly” since all the electronic components are removable.  


Darmour is now working on incorporating the same kind of sensor technology into other types of garement where the practice calls for precise technique to help users whenever they make the wrong move.

Pictures: sens-able clothing reminds exercisers to work out right (Leo Lam)

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