Most fitness wearables wrap around your wrist or clip to your belt, but the folks at OMsignal have distilled the category down to its most basic form: the shirt. “We’ve been wearing clothing all our lives,” company CEO and founder Stéphane Marceau says. “It’s the most natural and therefore the ultimate “wearable” medium.” He’s got a point, but that isn’t what makes OMsignal’s shirts special. The garment includes sensors that measure the wearer’s heart rate, breathing and movement and pipes all that data to their smartphone via Bluetooth, which can calculate calories burned, workout intensity and other metrics.
One of the biggest problems with today’s wearables is implementation. In their current form, they’re basically accessories you need to take off and put on to charge and sync. For both general purpose and fitness-focused trackers alike, you need to strap something onto your wrist, or snap a heart rate monitor onto your chest for detailed biological stats. This extra piece of hardware can be easy to forget if you already own one, and a barrier to entry if you don’t. A startup called OMsignal wants to make wearable tech as natural and unobtrusive as the shirt you slip over your head each day. The company has developed a line of workout shirts that, thanks to some specially woven threads, are able to measure health stats like your heart rate, breathing rate, and calories burned.