This chip could turn any item of clothing into an activity tracker

Motion sensing chips could soon be monitoring everything we do. (Well, everything we do with our clothes on, anyway.)

A company called mCube has designed a new type of accelerometer that for the first time combines a motion detector with the chip’s circuitry. That makes it much more efficient and cheaper to produce than existing options, in part because it’s half the size – just two millimetres across.

According to Gizmodo, the company says it’s reliable enough to replace the gyroscope in smartphones, meaning cheaper models could include the technology. But mCube’s biggest ambition is to integrate it into our clothes, so that we can use it with an app that will record the results. So it could be built into the sleeve of a tennis player’s t-shirt to calculate their serve’s speed and accuracy, for example. The company just needs to find a consistent way to power it. (Background noise, perhaps?)

Considering Stanford’s work on clothing that could charge our gadgets and the students from Johns Hopkins University who are developing a waistcoat defibrillator, it seems likely that in future, wearables will become part of our outfits, rather than an extra accessory. That or we’ll get tired of constantly monitoring everything and go back to living untracked lives. Place your bets…

Image via Quinn Dombrowski’s Flickr.

Diane Shipley