We first heard rumbles of smart clothing prototypes three or four years ago and although tech-enabled togs are yet to hit the mainstream, more and more companies are weaving sensors into fabrics. Combine tech and clothing and you can create all kinds of products, from smart biometric sports shirts, bikinis that monitor UV levels, socks that keep tabs on a baby’s heart rate, an NFC-enabled suit and so much more.
But right now the smart clothing on the market is mostly geared up to a really specific audience, primarily those who take fitness seriously. One ambitious company in this space is Wearable X, and, despite having fitness at its core, it wants to create lifestyle products aimed at a wider audience. Last year we interviewed co-founder Billie Whitehouse who outlined her plans for weaving tech into fabric in a really innovative way.
Fast-forward ten months and Wearable X’s first product is here. It’s called Nadi X and it’s a pair of $179 ‘smart’ yoga pants. Using a series of sensors, the leggings are able to track your movements and provide haptic feedback in the form of small vibrations in order to nudge you in the right direction with your yoga practice.
If you’re not sure how to feel about a pair of vibrating yoga pants, then don’t worry, you’re not alone. The tech may be very cool, but there’s something that seems to rub people up the wrong way about adding layers of tech and pricey clothing to the ancient practice of yoga.
Maybe it’s bolstered by the idea that only Sweaty Betty lovers wielding a green juice, with too much time and money on their hands, buy products for yoga, which is likely why one of my friends said, “Oh cool! Don’t they sound like something Samantha would try out in a slow episode of Sex and the City?”
Although I understand the reluctance to integrate tech into this kind of practice, I’m also open-minded about it. After all, how many of us would have thought we’d be running with the help of so much tech just a few years ago? I was also curious as to whether it’s true that any kind of fitness or wellbeing activity could be tracked and improved by tech or whether some should be left alone. Finally, I’m someone who’s dabbled with yoga on and off for years, so I also wanted to selfishly see if the Nadi X could help me improve and become more precise with my movements. That’s why I couldn’t wait to get my hands on (and legs into) the Nadi X. Here’s how I got on.