Ralph Lauren to Introduce Wearable Technology at the US Open

At U.S. Open, Ralph Lauren to Introduce Wearable Technology

Ralph Lauren to Introduce Wearable Technology at the US Open

At U.S. Open, Ralph Lauren to Introduce Wearable Technology

New York Times fashion writer Ruth La Ferla, reports on the wearable technology from Ralph Lauren that will be making its debut at the US Open Tennis Championship.

TENNIS HAS an emotional impact that isn’t confined to the court. Consider the ball boy, who speeds the game along by retrieving stray balls for the players.

“It’s fascinating to see this guy at the peak of his youth and his health, to watch the stress that he’s under when Roger Federer is handing him a ball,” David Lauren said last week, just days before the United States Open, which starts on Monday.

“You can actually see his heart rate spike,” said Mr. Lauren, who has monitored those activities remotely. “You can see his breathing.”

Mr. Lauren, the executive vice president for advertising, marketing and corporate communications for the Ralph Lauren company and a son of the designer, isn’t cyberspying, nor is he tricked out with some newfangled sensor providing access to his subject’s inner workings. It’s the ball boy who will, in a manner of speaking, be wired.

Come Monday, ball boys at the Open will be trying out, in full view of fans around the globe, the sexy nylon T-shirt that marks Ralph Lauren’s entry into the rapidly advancing world of wearable technology.

“Everyone is exploring wearable tech watches and headbands and looking at cool sneakers,” Mr. Lauren said. “We skipped to what we thought was new, which is apparel. We live in our clothes.”

What spectators will see this week is a slick, form-fitting black athletic shirt, the Ralph Lauren polo pony emblazoned on the front. What they won’t see is the conductive silver-coated thread that is woven discreetly into the fiber, one that, according to the company, makes that shirt the first item of tech apparel to be introduced by a mainstream fashion label.

No, the shirt won’t answer your smartphone, fire your ignition or get you a date. What it will do, among its varied functions, is monitor your heart rate, breathing and stress levels, collecting data that is displayed on a dashboard, phone app or computer screen — all that without compromising its racy good looks.

“We want to control the technology and make it applicable to our life in a way that is refined and comfortable,” Mr. Lauren said.

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