When you are flying around a race track at 200+ miles per hour, having your reflexes in peak condition is critical. Which is why IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan uses Hitoe – Japan’s new line of nano fiber clothing that actually tracks your heart rate and breathing.

“I used to cramp a lot in the car,” he said. “I was wasting effort just because we didn’t have the right information. [The shirt] shows me the muscles I use the most, so I can concentrate more in my workouts.”

Having this information in real time is a huge leap for athletes. If they can track how their bodies are responding to the stresses of in-game situations, the more capable they become of improving their form and training in a way that focuses on the areas that need work.

hitoe shirt

The Hitoe shirt, developed by NTT Data and Toray Industries, uses conductive nanofibers inside a compression shirt to take readings of the wearer’s vital signs the entire time the shirt is on. That way, you can keep a close record of the way your body was reacting to situations and stressors over a certain course of time.

“Your heart says everything,” Kanaan told reporters.

And while this shirt is certainly going to change the way professional athletes train, the applications for this tech do not end there. The hope is to one day use garments like this to help make certain healthcare procedures less invasive and less time consuming.

Think of it this way – would you rather have to be laid up in a doctor’s office for hours to have your heart rate checked, or simply put on a shirt? That would make a lot easier.

Also, having round-the-clock access to this kind of info can help us all get a better picture of how our bodies are reacting to our lifestyle. Picture it like a bigger, more accurate, and more in-depth FitBit.


lat-levitt-STP_0316-10032 (1)But, for Kanaan, there is one major reason he chooses to use the Hitoe – “It’s something [other drivers] don’t have, so I can brag about it.”

Sounds like a man after our own, braggadocious hearts. Now go get one before you become the laughing stock of your corporate kickball league.