It’s common these days to see a person sporting some kind of wearable tech that monitors an aspect of their health. These range from simple pedometers to even bands that can monitor seizures. While these are all helpful, people sometimes forget to wear them, which leads to inaccuracy of data.
Japanese electronics and wearables manufacturer Xenoma may have the solution to creating wearable tech that’s more seamless. They have teamed up with WearHEALTH, a research group from Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence to take wearable tech a step further. They have created smart clothing with integrated motion capturing technology called e-skin.
While the wearer will find the integrated health management functions useful, caretakers will appreciate the unobtrusive way of gathering information from a remote position. This can be especially helpful for elder citizens and their caretakers as this can track the daily life of its wearer, analyze sleep conditions and detect falling. As Japan and the world are facing an ever-growing lack of caretakers, this solution might be exactly what the market needs.
Xenoma uses Printed Circuit Fabric (PCF) technology to become a pioneer in the world of “smart-clothing”. This uses a propriety process to create an e-skin with stretchable electronics — integrated sensors and devices that can be comfortably worn on the body.
This is not the first time the e-skin made its appearance. It was previously showcased and demoed during CES 2016. Back then, it already showed a variety of applications. Here are some notable uses.
The e-skin shirt allowed the rendering of the players’ movements as their avatars move in real-time. This enabled the wearer to remotely control a game since data is easily transmitted from the clothing to a host computer.
In an application poised to fuel excitement for the gaming community, the shirt was used with the Microsoft HoloLens. With this, it enabled motion input beyond the eyesight of the goggles.
Beneath the e-skin
Embedded in both the shirt and pants are cloth sensors that are customized to pick up on specific inputs tailored to each item of clothing. The circuits running along the hips and legs are designed to detect motion. Meanwhile, the shirt is designed to monitor vital signs such as breathing. There is an additional pair of ports on the sternum that can connect to an ECG just in case.
At the top of the chest is a plastic disc that holds the battery, Bluetooth LE, an accelerometer and a gyroscope. The two-inch device currently only lasts for a maximum of 8 hours per charge. This is not optimal for clinical scenarios, but Xenoma is working on developing a longer-lasting system.
Xenoma will present their latest technology at CES 2020. Their focus will revolve around products that can monitor the movement and health of its wearer.
This kind of tech can have various uses in different industries such as health and sports. The company hopes that the hardware will be ready for medical use next year. Hopefully, the cost per garment will be less than $100. Of course, that’s still a couple of years away, but it bodes well for a future when wearable tech isn’t just another accessory to put on.
YouTube: e-skin Introduction
Photo credit: All images used are owned by Xenoma and were provided for press usage.