at the u.s. open

U.S. Open Ball Boys Are Sporting Fancy, High-Tech Smart Shirts

We'd love to see this on Djokovic.
Being buff is a requirement too. (Photo: Ralph Lauren)

Being buff is a requirement. (Photo: Ralph Lauren)

From the microphones perched at the sides to the sensors tracking the ball’s speed, the tennis court is already a wired place. But at this year’s U.S. Open, designer Ralph Lauren is taking it up a notch by hooking the ball boys up with a high-tech shirt that tracks their health.

The form-fitting shirts, which, of course, come emblazoned with the signature Ralph Lauren logo, are lined with a conductive silver-coated thread that tracks their heart rate, breathing and stress levels. It’s then transmitted to an app for monitoring. The pieces were created with OM, a Canadian tech company, and is the designer’s first foray into the rapidly growing sector of wearable tech.

Arguably, the most interesting part of the shirts is that they don’t looks like they’re from outer space. The sensors are woven discreetly into the gear. David Lauren, the company’s director of marketing, told the New York Times that they didn’t want it to be distracting:

“We want to control the technology and make it applicable to our life in a way that is refined and comfortable,” he told the newspaper. “Nothing clunky that you have to strap on. You’re just putting on a shirt.”

But if you’re feeling FOMO that you don’t get to wear one of these cool shirts, don’t. Ralph Lauren is unleashing a line of wearable technology clothing into its stores next year. Prices have yet to be set. We’re just wondering if they’re washer safe.

Follow Jordan Valinsky on Twitter or via RSS. jvalinsky@observer.com