In the works: A sports bra that syncs music to heart rate

  • TECH
  • Friday, 20 Feb 2015

SMART BRA: It keeps users in tune with their heart rate while eliminating the need to look at an app.

In the age of the quantified self, British design student Victoria Sowerby is dancing to the counter-beat with an innovative sports bra that tells users if they're pushing themselves too hard or not enough by adjusting the beat of their music.

Sowerby told Refinery29 that she got the idea for the Keep Beat bra from talking to performance runners who told her that glancing at a wearable tracker made for a rude break in the adrenaline-charged intensity of a work out.

It keeps users in tune with their heart rate while eliminating the need to look at an app -- a daring departure from the numbers-based motivation strategies of the gadgets that have become popular with fitness enthusiasts.

The bra has a special pocket for a smartphone but there's no need to remove it and study the numbers until after the workout.

Instead, users set target heart rate zones before they start running and the app syncs to their MP3 music files and encourages them to keep their pace by slowing the music when they slack off, and quickening if they put out more effort than planned.

In an interview with Relaxnews, Sowerby said the bra was the final project for her master's degree and she prepared for it by researching the relationship between music and exercise.

Encouraged by the findings of a sports psychologist concluding that running to music ups motivation up to 15% more than silence, she set out to create a tool that would employ audio stimulation.

A sensor is mounted on the front of the bra, which is made of high performance fabrics that are also sweat- and bacteria-resistant and Sowerby, a print specialist, added style and reflective function.

She told Relaxnews she plans to develop a vest for men using the same technology, and to further develop the product line using 3D knitting with conductive fibers.

She is currently in the talks with several major sportswear companies to commercialize Keep Beat, she told Relaxnews, and is soon to begin working for Puma. — AFP/RelaxNews
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