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How a biometric bra at CES pointed to the future of wearable technology

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Amid the smart watches, fitness bands and other wrist-based devices dominating the wearable tech scene at CES this year, there was… a bra. In a sea of gadgets targeted predominantly to men, one product stood out for the very fact it could be nothing but aimed at women.

The OMbra, as it’s called, is an intelligent sports bra. Created by OMsignal, the team behind the Ralph Lauren PoloTech Shirt, it tracks the biometric basics you’d expect, including heart rate, distance and calories burned. But there also some exclusive metrics created by the company, such as “breathing rhythm” to help moderate your respiratory system and enable you to use less energy when running; “fatigue” to gauge what state of cumulative fatigue your body is in based on previous training; and “biometric effort”, which tells you exactly the level of effort you’ve put into each run.

All of that syncs to your mobile under the new OMrun platform, aiming to help you improve efficiency and performance over time. It also connects with other apps including Apple Health, Strava, Nike+, MapMyFitness and Runtastic.

While those digital aspects are central, key to the delivery of this product, according to OMsignal co-founder and CEO Stephane Marceau, was ensuring it actually functioned as a comfortable and supportive item to wear first and foremost. Significant research was done into biomechanics for instance, focusing on such details as straps being the most common complaints about sports bras, and that the way a woman runs will change depending on how her breasts are supported.

Head over to Forbes to read my full interview with Marceau.

By Rachel Arthur

Rachel Arthur is Editor-in-Chief of Current Daily, the leading news source for fashion, retail and innovation, and the co-host of its weekly Innovators podcast. She otherwise serves as Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Current Global, a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion luxury and retail. By background she is an award-winning business journalist and consultant, contributing to titles including Wired, Forbes and Business of Fashion.

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