Hexoskin ventures into the cold with Arctic biometric smart shirt

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Unlike its original wearable, Hexoskin's new Arctic shirt is designed for use in cold weather

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Hexoskin has announced a new version of its crowdfunded smart fitness vest. The Arctic smart shirt doesn’t make any changes to the already solid fitness tracking specs, but offers a new design and custom material designed to keep the user warm in more extreme environments.

We’ve seen a few examples of smart, fitness-focused garments over the last year, designed to provide detailed unobtrusive fitness tracking. The new product is an augmented version of the Hexoskin shirt that surpassed its Indiegogo crowdfunding target late last year, and carries all the same sensors found in that product.

It doesn’t just track basic metrics like heart rate, steps and calories burned, but also keeps tabs on cadence, activity level, acceleration, breathing rate and sleep duration, heart rate recovery and variability, and more. All in, it tracks some 42,000 data points per minute, making it one of the more advanced fitness products out there.

The sensors themselves are made of a silver-coated textile woven directly into the shirt, meaning they won’t get in the way during exercise. Data is transmitted via a small, 40 g (1.4 oz) device that attaches to the side of the shirt during use. It’s compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones, with dedicated apps providing real time biometrics.

The sleeveless vest design of the original garment is great if you’re training indoors or in summer months, but is a little less than ideal if you’re out and about when winter rolls in. The new model isn’t so much an improvement over the original shirt, but an augmentation of it that allows for use in more extreme environments.

While the most obvious additions on the Arctic are its long sleeves and high collar, the company has also worked on the material used, with the goal of ensuring a comfortable cold weather experience. The Arctic shirt is made from a new textile developed from research on polar bears, focusing on how they trap heat between their skin and fur. The vest, which is 57 percent polyamide, 28 percent polyester and 15 percent elastane, performs a similar trick while still allowing for the evaporation of perspiration.

The winter shirt is Canadian-made using Italian fabric that, according to the company, offers levels of comfort similar to Merino wool. It's machine washable and antibacterial-treated to keep odors to a minimum.

The Hexoskin Arctic smart shirt is expected to start shipping in December for US$199.

Source: Hexoskin

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