Adidas takes us into the future of clothing

Chris Caceres · December 8, 2008 · Short URL:

Textronics, health monitoring company acquired by sports giant

A h ealthy workout today goes hand in hand with attaching a monitoring strap to analyze your heart rate, speed, and distance traveled, etc.

It's no wonder that Adidas International, one of the largest sporting products companies in the world, is broadening its product line to include such technologies.

Adidas on Monday announced it's buying Textronics Inc, a Delaware-based developer of chips and sensors that are sewn into clothing, for an undisclosed amount. Textronics' technology generates the same results as a heart monitor, sans the annoying straps.

"The integration of electronics with textiles brings a new frontier in functionality to one of the most common materials in our daily lives," according to the Textronics web site.

At the same time the company also markets its own line of clothing products for athletic monitoring under the brand name NuMetrix

What kind of products can we expect to see from this deal?

 At the moment, NuMetrix offers products like a Heart Rate Monitor Sports Bra, which according to the product description, "features electronic sensing technology integrated directly into the fabric. The textile electrodes that are knitted into the bra stretch and move as you do, maintaining contact with your skin and sensing your heart’s electrical pulse."  This product was the first of its kind and awarded the Sports Product of the Year in 2006 by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association

 Adidas has already released similar products.  In 2006, Adidas and Polar announced, "The world's first integrated training system." Adidas described the product as delivering, "Special fibers bonded onto Adidas tops, work in conjunction with Polar’s Wear Link™ technology to eliminate the need for a separate chest strap to monitor heart rate."

Textronics has raised $11 million in VC funding from INVISTA, NGen Partners, SAS Investors, and Unilever Technology Ventures since 2005.   

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