AI powered underwear could be heading your way.
Robotic assistants are everywhere — from our phones to our watches, our living rooms, and cars — making artificial intelligence increasingly inescapable. It only seems logical that at some point there will be a market for robotic clothes.
More than just dystopian battle suits designed to turn soldiers into a bionic infantry, robotic clothing could find its way into daily life. The leading candidate for the first articles of clothing to turn robotic? Underwear, of course!
Seismic, an apparel startup based out of San Francisco, is set to release its Powered Clothing™ undergarment in limited release to the public in 2019. The goal of the clothing is to allow its wearers to “overcome limitations and achieve full physical potential.” This is accomplished through the custom-fitted suit’s three layers.
The “base layer” is simply comfortable material similar to those already found in the sports world, but with pockets where rechargeable batteries and removable hardware can be stored. The base layer contours to the body and can be worn on its own without the robotic enhancements.
The “strength layer” is where the robotic components are found. These parts replicate the motion of tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and extend from the outer leg to the hip and lower back. Sensors in this layer monitor the force applied by the “robotic muscles” as well as body orientation. The robotic muscles can then contract to aid in stability and posture.
The ‘intelligent layer’ is an external pack that is worn on the lower back and provides “Symbiosis.” Using Internet of Things technology, the mini-computer collects data from the suit’s sensors to provide support from the strength layer whenever necessary.
The Future of Robotic Clothes
Seismic unveiled prototypes of their suit in September and the company plans on continuing to make the apparel “lighter and smaller and more powerful.” In a company press release, Rich Mahoney, CEO and Co-founder of Seismic, spoke of his vision, “We see a future where simply getting dressed in the morning can dramatically improve people’s lifestyles and expand what they are capable of accomplishing.”
Originally developed to prevent injuries for soldiers carrying packs that can weigh more than 100 pounds, the technology will soon be available to everyday citizens with mobility issues. After that, possibly a waiting game to see its adoption by athletes and a debate on the competitive advantage it provides.