De robot imiteert de beweging van de mens en programmeert zichzelf. Foto: Anne Schwerin
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Until a few years ago, clothing served only to protect people and at the same time still had fashionable aspects. But meanwhile, our second skin can do more and more. The measurement of body data such as pulse value or calorie consumption by means of integrated sensors is almost an old hat. Now, however, the clothing will also take on teaching functions through artificial intelligence: On the one hand as a trainer for humans, on the other hand as a programmer for robots.

The latest development comes from Turing Sense. For over three years, a team of 27 engineers and competitive athletes has worked on their vision of replacing complex video analyses of movements with digital technologies such as AI. Their vision: to design complicated sports exercises in a timely, precise and effective manner. The result was officially launched recentely. It’s a yoga outfit that incorporates sensors that connect to a virtual yoga studio through an app. Yoga videos by renowned instructors such as Brett Larkin, Kim Sin and Molly Grace are offered here. Almost as if the yogini were personally on site, she leads through the selected yoga course. The i-Double scans the execution of the asana, the yoga posture, of the students through W-LAN. This is then displayed as an avatar on the mobile or TV screen so that the user can observe his likeness to the teacher while practising warrior, dog and co. As an interactive app, the i-Yogini also reacts to voice commands such as “Freeze” or “Show me the camera”. But now comes the clue: when the user asks for “How does this look?”, he will receive a correction of the yoga position, if necessary. The workout can thus be individually adapted to the requirements of personal performance.

Of course, high-tech clothing also meets the highest demands in terms of comfort and functionality. It is even washable. The outfit called Pivot Yoga consisting of a shirt and pants for $99 is currently only available in the USA and Canada. The app currently only works in combination with IOS 11, an iPhone 7 and higher. An Android app, as well as the delivery to Europe, is planned.

Possibly exactly because demanding yoga only has the desired effect on body and soul through precise execution, there is another clothing manufacturer that has already specialised in smart clothing for yoga in 2017: Wearablex. Although with the so-called Nadi X Pants, which are also connected to an app via Bluetooth, the yoga student receives haptic feedback instead of a visual and optical correction. Ten tiny, individually adjustable vibrations are sent to the hip area, knees and ankles to indicate an incorrect position. They provide peace of mind when the position is correct. Wearable X Smart Pants are currently available in the USA, Canada, the EU (plus Switzerland, Norway) and Australia/New Zealand, they work under IOS and cost $249.

The Dresden-based Start-Up Wandelbots is currently working on an exact opposite application of artificial intelligence. The company has developed software that enables robots to program themselves by imitating human movements – sent to them by, for example, a technician using Smart Clothes. This new technology should be 20 times faster and 10 times cheaper than conventional programming. This application can be seen, for example, in the Transparent Factory of VW in Dresden.

The focus of changebots is currently still on industrial robots. But if these have proven themselves in the first practical tests, the technology could become a groundbreaking innovation: the application is so simple that in the future, everyone could be able to program an individual robot, even those without background knowledge. In addition to industrial assembly, conceivable areas of application include use at home and in nursing care.