Flushing, N.Y. — Ralph Lauren is using the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, opening here today, to introduce its first wearable technology product, the Polo Tech athletic compression shirt.
The Polo Tech, created through a partnership with Canadian wearable supplier OMsignal, features sensors knitted into the core of the shirt's cloth to read biological and physiological information. The OMsignal platform delivers a wide variety of physiological data directly to a user's smartphone or tablet via app.
“It was clear from our very first meeting that Ralph Lauren had clarity of mind about the future of fashion tech,” said Stéphane Marceau, CEO of OMsignal. “Its legendary Polo brand and unparalleled design and merchandising capabilities make Ralph Lauren a natural partner to bring smart clothing technology into everyday lives."
With the OMsignal platform, the data collected by the shirt is stored by a “black box,” which includes an accelerometer and gyroscope, that capture movement and direction. That black box transmits the data into the Cloud, where it is plugged into a number of algorithms that gauge key performance-oriented biometrics, including heartbeat and respiration, as well as some psychometrics, such as stress level and energy output.
The shirt is black with a signature yellow Polo Player logo. The second-skin compression fit enhances comfort and agility, the company said.
As the official outfitter of the two-week U.S. Tennis Association tournament, Ralph Lauren is dressing several ball boys in the Polo Tech Shirt during select matches at the Billie Jean National Tennis Center. In addition, Marcos Giron, the No. 1 singles player in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, playing in his first Grand Slam and will wear the Polo Tech shirt during his practices. He will track his biometrics and making adjustments in real time to his play, form and breathing.
“Ralph Lauren continues to be at the cutting edge of fashion and culture,” said David Lauren, advertising, marketing and public relations senior VP. “Our goal is to create and reflect the ultimate lifestyle, and we believe that a healthy and active life is an essential part of that. Ralph Lauren is excited to help lead the industry in wearable technology in this ever-evolving, modern world.”
David Brewer, U.S. Open Tournament director, said there are features in the Polo Tech shirt that can “revolutionize how players train and compete. The fact that Ralph Lauren chose the U.S. Open as the venue to unveil its Polo Tech shirt enhances our tradition as a showcase for innovation,” said Brewer.
Beyond elite athletes, however, David Lauren also sees a place for the Polo Tech shirt in everyday life. “Our vision is that this will transcend sports to help us at every age and in every aspect of life. Reaching far beyond just the needs of elite athletes, Polo Tech will offer innovative technology for all ages and lifestyles to promote general wellness and quality of life.”