The sci-fi future in which we’re all wearing matching space age outfits may be coming sooner than we think, if e-skin has anything to say about the matter.
E-skin is a new tech-enhanced shirt that tracks your body movements and can be used, among other purposes, to make yourself into a game controller.
In appearance, it’s essentially a black compression shirt that zips up the front and features silver lines that contour the top half of the body.
Those lines contain proprietary stretchable electronic components developed at the University of Tokyo, which power the shirt’s tracking capabilities when paired with a dumbbell shaped ‘hub’ that’s a little smaller than a smartphone and attaches to the front of the wearable.
The data from that hub can be sent to an electronic device in real-time, allowing for a variety of movement-based applications. The team gives examples including the ability to analyze your golf swing (a functionality shown off at this year’s CES) and manipulating IoT devices in your home using certain actions.
The creators say the shirt is light and comfortable to wear, and can be machine-washed.
Currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, an early bird e-skin, hub and software development kit with one application download costs $508 CAD. For $528 CAD, buyers get access to three application downloads listed as yoga, fitness and data tracker.
Verdict: Not sticky.
Technology woven into fabric may be the future, but if this shirt represents the dress code of the future, then — to quote Simon Cowell — it’s a “no” from me.
I don’t want to be overly harsh — I think the underlying technology is really fascinating. But even taking aesthetics out of the equation, I just don’t think this team has hit on the ideal use case for its tech.
They’re showcasing it mainly as a gaming technology, but gaming has always been a fairly sedentary pursuit. Sure, virtual reality might change that, but my best guess is that most gamers want to remain sitting down and chilling.
IoT or health and wellness uses make a little more sense, but the pain points being addressed — for example turning on and off devices and tracking your heart rate, — are not serious enough to warrant my buying an over $500 futuristic shirt to wear on the daily.
Let us know what you think about e-skin in the comments.
This post is part of an ongoing series titled Sticky or Not in which Senior Reporter Rose Behar analyzes new and often bizarre gadgets, rating them sticky (good) or not (bad).