Image via wearablex
Over the years, fashion and sport have grown rather complementary of each other. Fashion is the art of self-expression while sport is the form of physical activity; together, as Blair Waldorf would put it, it is movement, design, and architecture all in one. Chic sportswear has never looked better.
But, can it do better?
In 2016, sportswear leaped when a fashion tech company called Wearable X took fashion and sports to the next level. They reiterated a universally, classic idea—the fan jersey—and applied elements that combined art and science. Their reinvention of the fan jersey raised opportunities for sports fans of all backgrounds to feel like a part of a team. It was no longer chic sportswear but rather “wearable technology.”
The [adult] human brain, according to David Ezell and licensed professional counsellor Darien Wellness, is wired with specialized neurons known as mirror neurons. Mirror neurons wire the human brain to grasp empathy. For sports fans, in particular, the experience of games makes them feel “as if they were actually there and participating in it”
Through the construct of human empathy and a recreation of the sense of touch, the end result is a “fourth dimension of entertainment” recognizable as wearable technology. This, altogether, sanctions sports fans to feel what the players are feeling and generally, further blurring the lines between player and spectator.
Gif via wearablex
Wearable Technology, namely the Fan Jersey by Wearable X, was introduced at Super Bowl 50 (circa 2016). NFL fans were offered a revolutionized sporting experience where, for the first time, they can physically feel the sensations of a game—from the actual gameplay itself to its players.
Launched in 2013, Wearable X is a Sydney-born, New York-based fashion tech company whose mission is to create a better quality of life with a combination of raw-edge design and technology. Their products, like the Fan Jersey, showcase the balance of those joint forces because it goes beyond quantifiable experiences to further enhanced ones.
Wearable Technology, like the Fan Jersey, taps into a custom data feed offered by stadium partners that provide information to broadcasters who present game statistics in a TV broadcast feed. During a game, wearers will be able to experience certain key moments that will transmit a vibration to the garment. This allows wearers of all backgrounds to experience, in a live stream setting, their sport of choice. Though, there are set limitations to the haptic technology of the Fan Jersey to maintain the perfect balance of shock and excitement.
Image via wearablex
Wearable Technology is not partial to a singular sport. To name a few, others like hockey, martial arts, basketball, and their elements can be transferred to the Fan Jersey.
With sewn-in sensory technology and a haptic vibration system, Fan Jerseys allow wearers to physically feel the full force of a game through its players.
For instance, while watching an NFL game, wearers can feel the impact of first downs, fourth downs, interceptions, field goals, forced fumbles, red zone penetrations, and—of course—touchdowns, to name a few.
Billie Whitehouse, co-founder and CEO of Wearable X, says consumer trials determine the actions and process them similarly to writing music, except on the human body: “Choosing the frequency, the intensity and the placement instantly has an emotional reaction”
Through Wi-Fi or a cellular data network, Wearable Technology through the Fan Jersey connects via Bluetooth to a free cell phone application that follows a real-time game data feed.
According to Whitehouse, stadium partners provide information to transmit a sensory experience that is fast and secure: “We cut down on the transmission times and alert the fans as near to real-time as possible. Our servers can be set up to synchronize the sensations to the actual events as they broadcast via the TV networks”
Additionally, through its haptic vibration system, the Fan Jersey has a sewn-in simblee chip/board that connects to a broadcast networking app and receives game signals, allowing fans/wearers to watch a game at their own expense—whether it’s at a stadium, from home, or in a sports bar.
Gif via wearablex
Currently, Fan Jerseys are only available commercially in the U.S. market. Whitehouse explains that wearable technology is “most certainly penetrating internationally” , noting that Germany and the U.K. are looking extremely high in potential. Not to mention, it is in the works of being introduced to global sports giants like the NFL, Premiere League, and the IOC (also known as the International Olympic Committee).
With the rapid growth of technology and the current climate of the world, wearable technology will surely become a game-changer in traditional sporting events and athletic wear. Sports fans, from the comforts of their homes to front row seats, will be able to experience games in true definition. However, the anticipation, the intensity, and the hum of pride—the love of the game itself—will never change. Funnily enough, neither will the fan jersey. It can only get better.
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