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NuMetrex Heart Rate Monitor Sports Bra

NuMetrex heart rate monitor sports braThe NuMetrex is an innovative product that uses "smart fabric" - a special conductive textile - to pick up the heart's electrical pulse and radio it to a digital readout wristwatch via a tiny transmitter in the bra. It is the first product from Textronics, which says:

The convergence of high-tech fiber science with electronics and optics is at an early stage but has the potential to revolutionize fabrics from clothing to industrial textiles and significantly impact other textile sectors in the next decade.

...We have a number of technology streams under development that bridge the divide between the two sectors and will enable energy-active fabric systems to deliver entirely new kinds of functional benefit. A world of possibilities for fabrics that warm, illuminate, conduct, sense, and respond.

These benefits will be most immediately relevant to specialist applications in the worlds of medicine, sport, communications, personal security, among others, but will ultimately have broad consumer relevance.

The company has established a dedicated website for the NuMetrex sports bra. It includes some testimonials, including this, from Olympian runner Vicki Huber-Rodawsky:

I am very impressed with the NuMetrex Bra! I have not trained very much by heart rate mostly because I do not want to run with that strap around my chest - runners are a picky bunch - but that bra is amazing! The design of the bra itself is very nice, and the way the monitor is inserted is awesome. It is THE most comfortable running bra that I own.

New York magazine listed it in its Best Bets section, describing it as "a gizmo-laden sports bra," and Sports Edge magazine named it one of its top five sports products for 2006.

AP business correspondent Madlen Read wrote a lengthy report (no longer online) on her experiences of testing the bra:

In our health-conscious age, runners like me are advised to monitor our heart rates so we get the most out of our workouts without overdoing it. But I haven't ever felt like strapping on extraneous hardware to keep tabs on my pulse.

The new Numetrex sports bra has the answer: Woven into its fabric are tiny electrodes that can detect heart rate and display the result on a watch.

The easy to use - just snap a transmitter into a pocket located in the band of the bra, activate a digital watch with a heart-monitor setting, and start sweating.

After about five minutes of running, the transmitter picked up my heart rate. If I didn't want to wait those five minutes, I just moistened the inside of the band with water before I started, the same way you would for the kind of plastic monitor you strap around your chest.

The $75 Numetrex sports bra and transmitter works similarly to those plastic strap-on heart monitors, but the benefit of the bra is comfort - no plastic touches your skin, it feels like any other sports bra, and you don't have to worry about the transmitter shifting, chafing or loosening.

The electrode sensors are knitted into a few inches of fabric in the band. These sensors pick up the heart's electrical signal, which is sent to the transmitter snapped into the band.

The transmitter, about the size of a matchbook and hidden in the bra's seam, communicates with a watch or the display on a treadmill.

Wired magazine's Gadget Lab rated the bra eight points (out of 10), and commented:

If you're a serious runner, a heart-rate monitor is a must. But for women, the chest-strap variety is problematic -- it generally gets in the way of the equally necessary sports bra. NuMetrex has solved this problem by combining the two. Sensors are built into the fabric to pick up your heart rate, which is displayed on a Polar F4 watch (which also has the usual stopwatch and lap info).

The clunky-looking transmitter initially felt a little weird snapped to the front of the bra, but after a quarter mile I forgot it was there. The garment itself is durable and is made of a moisture-wicking material, which is necessary for serious exercise. It totally held up -- pun intended -- during my workout. And at $145, it's about the price of a regular sports bra and watch. Available in 32 to 38, A to C.

The Design News website wrote:

Serious runners and fitness freaks swear by heart rate monitoring, but they sometimes chafe, literally, at having to wear the hard plastic chest bands that house the monitor's electrode and transmitter. Textronics Inc. recently found a way to make heart rate monitoring more comfortable — at least for women.

The company's new Numetrex Sports Bra incorporates a conductive textile that turns the bra's rib cage strap into an electrode that picks up the heart's electrical signals. "The functionality is the same as a stand-alone heart rate monitor band," says Stacey Burr, Textronic's president.

Yet unlike traditional monitor bands, which encase the electrode in a hard plastic shell, the conductive textile is a flexible, seamless part of this nylon and Lycra bra. "If you feel the garment, you wouldn't be able to tell where the conductive area is," says Burr, who started her career as a polymer engineer. The only "hard" part of the bra is a small, snap-on transmitter that sends heart rate data to a third-party heart monitor watch, such as those made by Polar.

Textronics has performed pressure mapping studies that compare the bra to the usual plastic heart rate monitor bands. "We found that the bra applies four to five times less pressure than the band," Burr reports.

OK, so the bra is comfortable. So why should Design News readers, more than 98 percent of whom are men, care? Well, for one thing, Textronics has a man's running shirt with heart rate monitoring in development. Burr reports that the company is working out ways to keep a small zone of the shirt in contact with the body at all times — something the bra does naturally.

* Get the Latest Price on the NuMetrex Heart Rate Monitor Sports Bra.

See also my Guide to Buying the Best Heart Rate Monitor. And check out the heart rate monitor bestseller rankings at to see what people are currently buying.

Updated: November 16th, 2009


See Also:

Acumen Heart Rate Monitor
CardioSport Heart Rate Monitor
Garmin Heart Rate Monitor
Mio Heart Rate Monitor
Mio Shape Heart Rate Monitor
Nike Heart Rate Monitor
NuMetrex Heart Rate Monitor Sports Bra
Omron Heart Rate Monitor
Omron HR-100C Heart Rate Monitor
Oregon Scientific Heart Rate Monitor
Polar F4 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar F6 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar F7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar F11 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar F55 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar FS1 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar FS2 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar FS3 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar FT40 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar FT80 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar RS100 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar RS200 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar RS200SD Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar RS400 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar S625X Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar S725 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Polar Heart Rate Monitors
Sportline Heart Rate Monitor
Suunto Heart Rate Monitor
Timex Heart Rate Monitor
Timex Ironman Heart Rate Monitor

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