Goodbye fitness bands: Soon, motion sensors will be woven right into our clothes

XelfleX
Cambridge Consultants developed a new smart textile that could make the smart clothing we currently only dream of a reality. It’s called XelfleX (it’s pronounced ex-el-flex, apparently), and by using a special fiber optic thread to track movement, it turns the very fabric of our clothes into a motion sensor.

The thread is thin, light, and flexible, plus it’s water resistant and won’t be damaged by washing, which makes it suitable for clothing worn everyday. Woven into tight fitting garments, each fiber optic thread can hold up to ten sensors, which recognize flexing joints and other movements. It can also send signals to a small power pack, then on to a smartphone. From here, custom algorithms interpret and analyze the data.

While we tend to think only about fitness tracking when considering smart clothes, XelfleX technology goes way beyond knowing how many steps we take. For example, it could be used to monitor and then train us to make a perfect golf swing, or deliver a beautiful tennis backhand, because it knows exactly where we’re going wrong.

It doesn’t only have sporting uses either. The growing interest in VR environments means a convenient, lightweight, and precise system to interpret body movements could be suitable to control next-generation games. There is also a need in healthcare for a system to accurately measure body movement in people recovering from serious injuries.

Beyond this wide variety of uses, XelfleX’s real breakthrough could be in making smart clothing actually wearable. Style is paramount, and for smart clothing to be accepted by regular people, it needs to be almost identical to its less-than-clever counterpart. It shouldn’t cost four times the price either. Cambridge Consultants’ Martin Brock, who invented XelfleX, says the sensor will allow companies to make smart clothing that is “low cost, durable, useful, and attractive to wear.”

We’ll have the chance to see XelfleX, and give it a try, at CES 2015.

Emerging Tech

Bill Nye the Science Guy talks “solar sailing” and the new space race

If successful, The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 will be a milestone in spaceflight, the first craft to raise its orbit around the planet using just the power of sunlight.
News

Uh…are smartphones really making young people grow horns?

People are getting “tech neck” from overusing their smartphones, but now there’s evidence that suggests young people might be growing actual horns because of phone use. 
Product Review

The Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S redefines sharp -- but is it worth the cost?

Nikon’s new mirrorless cameras now have a bright, versatile workhorse zoom that can be used without an adapter. Here's how the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S stacks up -- and whether it's worth $2,300.
Computing

Why OLED gaming monitors may be further from reality than we thought

Earlier this year, Dell showed us the promise of an exciting new future for gaming monitors with the reveal of the Alienware 55-inch OLED gaming display. We loved it. But according to new reports, it may never see the light of day.
Product Review

Samsung's $99 fitness tracker takes on Fitbit. Can it keep pace?

Samsung’s going toe-to-toe against Fitbit’s Inspire HR with its own $99 fitness tracker -- the Galaxy Fit. It also has a heart rate monitor, can automatically detect six workouts, and has a battery that can last for days.
Home Theater

Diagnose and fix some common Apple AirPods problems with our handy guide

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Product Review

The Bose Frames stuff speakers into sunglasses for a brilliant set of shades

With the Frames, Bose is digging up fertile new ground in the somewhat stagnant audio genre. But can these audio sunglasses offer enough versatility to make them worth their $200 price tag?
Deals

Fitbit Versa and Samsung Gear fitness smartwatches get big Amazon price cuts

Some of the best options can get pretty pricey, but with smartwatch discounts on the Fitbit Versa and Samsung Gear Sport, they are really quite affordable right now. You can save up to $125 on a new fitness watch.
Outdoors

The best smart helmets are full of cool tech, and totally worth the messy hair

Helmets might be a haircut's worst nightmare, but they're constantly evolving, and have undergone a 21st-century makeover. No matter your sport, here are the best smart helmets currently on the market.
Deals

The renewed Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch drops under $180 on Amazon

Samsung makes some of the best Android phones, so it’s no shock that this tech giant also offers superb Wear OS smartwatches. If you’re willing to buy renewed, then one of our favorites, the Samsung Gear S3, can be yours at a huge…
Deals

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for June 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Wearables

Fossil is preparing 5 new designer smartwatches, and we can’t wait to see them

Five new designer smartwatches are coming soon from Fossil. Based on FCC listings, it suggests the watches will be released under the Diesel, Michael Kors, Emporio Armani, and the Fossil brand names.
Wearables

Looking to get into shape? Snag one of these excellent fitness trackers

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Wearables

The Best Prime Day smartwatch deals: What we expect from the Amazon event

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is right around the corner, and while there are likely to be deals on TVs, gaming consoles, and more, there will also likely be some great deals on smartwatches. Here's what we know about Amazon Prime Day 2019…