Engineers in Mexico have developed a jacket designed to monitor a users vital signs and fitness level while running. The wearable technology is made of breathable fabric to keep a jogger cool while feeding performance information via bluetooth to a smartphone in real time. Ben Gruber reports.
STORY: Engineers Mexico are keeping pace with the latest advances in wearable technology. Alejandro Garcia and his team from Autonomous University have developed a jacket called "Podium" that allows a runner to keep tabs on their performance and vital signs in real time. The jacket is equipped with a series of sensors that gather data on the users heart rate and body temperature as well as performance info like calorie burn and distance. That data is fed to microprocessor which then relays it to a smartphone via a bluethooth connection. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ALEJANDRO GARCIA, DIRECTOR OF MOBILE DEPARTMENT AT NATIONAL AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "I think it is relevant there is a jacket that is able to measure elements that are necessary for the runner such as heart rate. The runner will be able to determine if their heart rate goes over a certain limit, the phone will then send a signal or generate an alarm. The same goes for temperature." That functionality allows runners to maximize their performance. Garcia says his team used a waterproof breathable fabric that protects the electronics while keeping the runner comfortable. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ALEJANDRO GARCIA, DIRECTOR OF MOBILE DEPARTMENT AT NATIONAL AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "We designed several versions of the jacket until we came up with a design that could cover the electronics throughout the human body. A jacket with laser printed water-proof material that allows for holes so that the person running is able to keep cool." Garcia says the jacket is constantly charging thanks to a thin layer of solar panels situated on the runners back. The engineers have already commercialized the design and plan to start filling orders early next year.