adidas Advances Wearable Tech With Self-Authenticating Smart Suit

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adidas Advances Wearable Tech With Self-Authenticating Smart Suit

The newest development in high-tech personalized clothing has been launched in a revolutionary move for sports wear.

The world's first "connected" race suit was worn for the first time by motorsport drivers at the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championships earlier this month. The adidas Climacool Smart Suit contains a chip that authenticates the race suit as a legitimate product and confirms whether it complies with current FÉdÉration Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) regulations as well as containing driver's personal identification.

The wearable technology has been developed by adidas motorsport licensee and distribution partner Fyshe Limited and technology company Otentico in response to the challenges of authenticating branded products and a growing counterfeit market.

Drivers spend up to £8,000 a head on premium race clothing, race boots and helmet, and demand authenticity. Industry observers say the chip's capacity for data could extend to medical records, taking its possible use across sport and beyond.

The development is expected to bring a new dimension to authenticating the provenance of race-worn memorabilia amongst auction houses and collectors alike.

Each adidas race suit contains a smart tag with an embedded near field communication (NFC) chip that is registered with a unique identification number. This is digitally signed during the tag's production, meaning the tag cannot be cloned, tampered with or electronically modified.

The tags are registered and verified by Otentico's server-based authentication platform to offer the highest security architecture. The Smart Tags are superior to conventional static QR codes that are easily copied and hologram-based labels that require visual identification.

The Smart Suits can be identified and authenticated by swiping a NFC-enabled smartphone using a free downloadable app. The app shows the Smart Suit's product details including imagery, manufacturer, manufacturing date and homologation number and, in the near future, drivers' details which could include key medical data. The information relating to each Smart Suit and driver is managed in the Cloud.

The Smart Suits were worn by drivers of the Dempsey-Proton Racing, Abu Dhabi–Proton Racing and KCMG teams for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship. All custom-made race suits from Fyshe will contain the chip from now on.

Fyshe founder and managing director Chris Nurse said: "Innovation is at the heart of our business and I am proud to introduce a world first digital solution which addresses race-wear authentication and validation.

"With customers spending signification amounts on premium racewear, race boots and helmets authenticity is vital. Combined with the threat of driver disqualifications at major races due to non-authentic or non-compliant suits being presented at scrutineering, the Smart Suit can help eradicate this risk and ensure driver safety.

"The chip will also be a highly-effective anti-counterfeiting measure.  We are expecting to see a significant uplift in sales of race wear in China where premium brands, like adidas, are susceptible to counterfeiters.

"Our continued collaboration with Otentico will allow us to start to explore the exciting opportunities of the Smart Tag technology in new areas."

Formula One legend Rubens Barrichello said: "Not only is this a cool way of knowing your race suit is authentic, but I can see the technology opening up many other possibilities. Driver data not related directly to the clothing, such as medical details, would be a fascinating and important development. It could give medics vital information in an instant if a driver needed treatment at the scene of an accident, for instance."

Oren Beeri, CEO of Otentico, said: "As an innovative anti-counterfeiting authentication and provenance tracking technology company, we are excited to be working with Fyshe, one of the industry's most innovative specialists and our first client in the motorsport industry.  We are proud to be able to develop and offer our technology to ensure that each product used by drivers around the world is indeed authentic and in compliance with the strict safety standards set by FIA and SFI."