20 Mar 2015

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SXSW Interactive: Forget Smartwatches, Here Comes the Smartbra

Featured image above by ThreeASFOUR

Apple Watch may almost be here, but if you’re still in the camp that thinks smartwatches are bulky and not particularly user friendly, you’re in luck.

Sabine Seymour Softspot Moondial

Dr. Sabine Seymour

Sabine Seymour, Founder and CEO of Moondial Labs, and Director of the Fashionable Technology Lab at Parsons, has created Softspot – a wearable that’s about as unobtrusive as they come. Described as a “sensing and actuating fabric patch,” Softspot is designed to be integrated seamlessly into any item of clothing. “We are not a gadget,” Seymour says. “We totally integrate our sensors into the fabric of the garment.”

Thanks to a a 6×6 mm processor, Softspot will collect essential information for a device of its type, straight from your clothing: heart rate, temperature, motion, and associated timing (i.e., how long have you been sitting vs. standing).

In creating technology like Softspot now, Seymour is in good company. Numerous organizations are looking at the best way to incorporate technology into clothing in a way that’s both useful and seamless, and some tech-infused garments are already out on the market.

But, with a long history of working with technology-integrated textiles, including research, design, and even authorship of books on fashionable technology, Seymour may be uniquely poised to create not just a breakthrough product, but a wearable that appeals directly to a specific group: women.

With a broad demographic of women in mind, Seymour hopes Softspot can provide all manner of data points to women, including heart rate regularity, weight and activity monitoring, and oxygen levels. “We’re really thinking about all the different things women have to think about,” she said.

Softspot was a finalist in this year’s SXSW Accelerator in the Wearable Technology category, and she says that interest in Softspot has already been higher than anticipated. Seymour also plans to debut the technology as a bra-style garment at this year’s New York Fashion Week

Seymour ultimately sees a future where companies and designers can leverage Softspot for any number of applications, and collect increasingly sophisticated data about the body. “Any developer on the world could do what they want with that SDK,” she said.

Above, all, though, she hopes that Softspot provides an elegant and effective way to meaningfully improve the lives of women. As she says, “It’s really all about wellness.”

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SXSW Interactive: Forget Smartwatches, Here Comes the Smartbra