Telegraph operator, blockbuster, carburetors. What do all three of these have in common? They all were supplanted by newer technology rendering their functions obsolete. With 2014 being the year of wearable finesse gear—gadgets that measure everything from calories burned to how well you sleep—2015 promises to up the ante, not only measuring performance, but providing feedback and maybe even advice on how to improve. Could 2015 start the extinction of the personal trainer? Asus, LG, Motorola and Sony all have released wrist-worn fitness monitors with a variety of features within the last year and more powerful models are on the horizon, possibly debuting in March at the Mobile World Congress (MWC). One of the newest innovations in wearable fitness gear are clothes that measure a variety of biometrics. Athos has done it. Athos has produced a line of wearable fitness bottoms (compression shorts for men, compression capris for women) with the promise of fitness tops on the way. This performance apparel measures data about your heart, lung and muscles and transmits that data back to an app that tracks data. The bottoms contain 10 sensors, eight are Electromyography (EMG) sensors and the last two are heart rate sensors. Electromyography measures muscle activity by tracking the electrical potential generated by muscle cells and displaying it visually. The eight sensors measure muscle usage in the gluteus, inner quadriceps, outer quadriceps, and hamstrings and provide real-time feedback on an app that lights up the muscles that are used on a map of the body. Using the app is as simple as wiggling into the most sung size of compression bottoms possible because the sensors have to be flesh against the skin throughout the workout to give the most accurate feedback possible. Once fitted, a simple calibration process, such as walking up a flight of steps with the phone to be synced in your hand, will get you started. Once the workout begins, the app indicates how much you are using each muscle by flashing colors on the body maps displayed on the phone screen (one body map is forward facing, the other rear facing). Blue and yellow flashes indicate you can handle more strain while green and red indicate you are working near
your max and white signals over exertion. This technology could be used beyond your personal workout. Imagine the advantage team training staffs could have in preventing injury on the practice field or during games if they knew when athletes were laboring and needed a rest or if an athlete was using one part/side of his or her body more than the other, indicating an injury or potential injury. A runner could get an better understanding of how to generate more speed or become a more efficient strider. If a piece of clothing could tell you that you are squatting unevenly, can handle more weight or you could push yourself harder, do you need to pay someone $75/hr to tell you the same thing? The Athos garments cost $99 and the core—a central device that snaps into the pants on one side relaying the data it collects to the Bluetooth-connected phone is another $199. It could give a whole new meaning to “personal” training in 2015.