Let’s all wear internet-enabled football jerseys and sit on the couch

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In the wearable computer market, trackers that promote exercise dominate. But one company is taking things in a different direction. The opposite direction, to be precise.

Wearable Experiments (We:eX) is the company that brought us Fundawear: app-enabled vibrating panties and boxer briefs, soon to be sold by Durex, which promise to let you enjoy sex with your partner without either of you having to leave your respective bedrooms. Their newest project Alert Shirt will let you experience the rigors of professional Australian football without ever leaving your couch.

The mechanism behind the Alert Shirt is unclear. The fan jerseys will somehow react to player activity on the field. Based on the video above, our guess is that the hardware sewn into the shirt—a triangular piece laid over the chest—will vibrate to varying degrees to mimic movement and pressure. The goal is for the wearer to “feel” what the player is feeling. It reminds us of the haptic feedback used in video game controllers, where vibration is used to simulate movement and explosions.

A shirt that provides such feedback for soccer matches alone? It seems a little silly. Though to be fair, as an American who doesn’t watch sports, I’m pretty far removed from the target demographic of “footy” fanatics.

But a shirt with haptic feedback is an intriguing idea. We:eX is also working on a jacket called Navigate, which uses lights and vibrations to provide directions around urban areas. With more applications available in a single shirt—or in a device that you could fit into multiple pieces of clothing—vibrating,
internet-connected tops could actually have a place in your closet.

Correction: This article originally stated that the shirt was connected to “soccer” players, because football, it turns out, is a very confusing word. The piece has been corrected to reference Australian football, or “footy.”