It seems like everyone’s got a solution for workout tracking, these days, and the undergrad students at Northeastern University are no different. We traveled to the bowels of the Boston school’s Egan Research Center, to try the Squid Shirt that we saw back in February on for size. Our own Terrence O’Brien donned the garb, and while the current prototype has dropped much of the unwieldy wires and suction cups that gave the wearable its name, it’s still a bit of a production, taking several minutes to put on with the aid of assistant academic specialist, Mark Sivak (who assured us that the student this specific model was designed for had gotten the whole thing down to a two or three minute streamlined process).
The shirt has a total of 13 EMG sensors, monitoring data from three muscle groups: the pecs, lats and delta. Every signal requires two sensors (with one attached to the hip for ground), which are ultra cheap and disposable, meaning you can just toss them away at the end of each workout session. In addition to monitoring muscle activity, a standard Polar heart rate monitor slips into a sleeve inside the shirt to keep track of your pulse. The shirt itself is machine washable, which again is good news, if you plan on working out in the thing. This is due in part to the fact that the box — the brains of the operation — is removable. This also means that you can use a single box to plug into different garments, which could include things like workout pants in the future.
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