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June 6, 2012

New movement-monitoring tank `could spell end of yoga instructors`

London: A futuristic new sports garment that is in development could do away with yoga and pilates instructors forever. Aptly named Move, the tight fitting T-shirt looks like any other supportive sportswear top but has tiny sensors integrated into the fabric that detects the wearer’s movements. Other components built into the top then respond with pulses to help guide the subject in correcting their alignment after which a record of the adjustment is sent to a mobile app. Designed by a team of innovators in Seattle , WA with the help of a Pilates instructor, Move aims to protect anyone practising yoga, Pilates or other sports including golf and baseball, from permanent or chronic injury. Hip-hop, ballet and contemporary dancers also are listed among those who could benefit from the precision-tracking technology. As a person transitions from one posture to another or even from a swing to a follow-through, minute inbuilt stretch and bend sensors located in the front, back and sides of the top read the body’s position and muscle movement. Whether the movement is precise, as in a yoga pose, or more expressive and emphatic, as in a hip-hop step, haptic feedback components sewn into the hips and shoulders send small electronic pulses that tap the skin lightly signalling a need for adjustment in position. The data is then collected by the “etextiles” and sent to a mobile app that logs the progress of your performance over time so you can see how you’ve improved and what areas might need special attention. Such innovation is familiar territory for Electricfoxy, the design team behind the ultra tech savvy invention. For this latest venture, Electricfoxy teamed up with Pilates expert Heidi Byrnes who through a series of demonstrations traced the areas of the body that would need to be tracked in order for Move to understand alignment. In a bid to stay faithful to the concept of graceful, accurate movement, breathable, flexible textiles and soft contouring were used in the design that also features see-through mesh panels running through the front sides and back. As one might expect there are still plenty of challenges for an item of such sophisticated function and questions have been raised pertaining to its potential for mass production. As anyone who does sport will no doubt already be wondering, how does one wash a garment with sensors inside? And how affordable can such a design really every be? “Move is an early concept and prototype. We will continue to explore, refine and evolve this concept as it’s just in its infancy,” the Daily Mail quoted Electicfoxy as explaining on the site.

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