Wimbledon ball boys and ball girls have cornered the market in stoic roboticism. But if it’s cyborgs you want, look no further than this year’s U.S. Open. A select few ball boys at this year’s tournament will wear Ralph Lauren Polo Tech shirts with biometric tracking capabilities.
The U.S. Open will mark the debut of the Polo Tech “smartshirt,” a snug black nylon compression shirt that will be used by some of the tournament’s feeders. While it won’t be worn by any of the players during matches, NCAA singles champion Marcos Giron will be wearing it during his practice sessions for the U.S. Open.
Although the branding is unmistakably Ralph Lauren — there’s a giant yellow Polo logo on the front — the tech within each shirt was developed by OMsignal. The shirt is a two-piece affair: conductive threads woven into the shirt, and a small snap-on module that weighs less than 1.5 ounces and relays information to a Bluetooth-connected iPhone or iPad.