Montreal-based “smart textile” manufacturer OmSignal, known for its line of fitness measuring t-shirts, has released a version of its trademark OmShirt aimed exclusively at the female market.

Billed as “advanced technology that’s fashionable and feminine,” the OmBra weaves OmSignal’s signature sensors into a smart bra that measures a wearer’s breath, steps, and heart rate, and delivers the results through the company’s OmRun mobile app.

“Our focus was to create a beautiful sports bra to enhance a woman’s body, respond to the unique strains of running, and accurately detect the body’s core signals,” Joanna Berzowska, Om’s head of electronic textiles, said in a Sept. 19 statement. “Boasting specially engineered fabrics and advanced sensory technology, OMbra truly is a product of science and engineering that simultaneously features innovative and inspired design.”

Among other features, the OmBra's accompanying OmRun app is capable of counting steps, measuring breathing, and tracking a user's heart rate.
Among other features, the OmBra’s accompanying OmRun app is capable of counting steps, measuring breathing, and tracking a user’s heart rate.

Oddly enough, OmSignal’s first product when it was founded four years ago was a smart bra, but its resources at the time were limited and though its leadership had the necessary technology, science, and engineering teams in place, the company was lacking in the apparel design department – a fact that cofounder Frederic Chanay admitted in a previous interview with ITBusiness.ca.

Originally scheduled for a spring release, the OmBra went through 1633 prototype iterations over the course of a year, with OmSignal using software development methods to methodically test and optimize every parameter of the garment, focusing on biomechanics (the study of human exercise’s mechanical aspects) and support, according to an earlier blog post by the company.

OmSignal also learned several interesting lessons along the way: for example, more than 70 per cent of women do not pick the right size bra; straps are the most common complaint about sports bras; and the way a woman runs will change depending on how her breasts are supported.

In response, the final product incorporates light, four-way stretchable fabric to ensure the bra, which is made from a mix of polyester, nylon and elastane, conforms to the body’s shape while in movement; mesh panels in the front and back to help keep runners dry; adjustable straps to make sizing easier and limit breast movement; and removable padding so that the bra can adapt to different cup shapes and sizes.

Like the OmShirt, the OmBra and OmRun were tested by hundreds of women, including female runners of all levels, Om CEO and co-founder Stephane Marceau said in the Sept. 19 statement, with the company calibrating the mobile app to strike a balance between raw measurement and helping users achieve specific fitness goals.

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