Tough fabric wearables for sports introduced

Later today will see a new form of sports focused wearable shown off at the WT Conference in Munich. The company behind it, StretchSense, claims that it’s tough, rugged and can take a beating, all in the name of providing accurate data on sports men and women while they train, without fear of it breaking.

The sensors are stretchy and compressible enough that they should never interfere with the athletes being tracked, making it possible to implement the sensors in basic sports clothing. This would remove the necessity that many fitness wearables at the moment have, of attaching to the wearer via a wrist band or other strap system.

“The innovative strain-locking mechanism we have developed means the sensor cannot be stretched beyond its maximum stretch range. As a result, those wearing them can move in any way they wish and take part in rough and tumble activities such as vigorous sports,” said CEO of StretchSense Ben O’Brien.

Stretchy sensors that are low profile as this have huge potential.

Stretchy sensors that are low profile as this have huge potential.

Beyond basic metrics however, the new StretchSense sensor can also measure the stretch in its own band, so could potentially track the contraction of a muscle. This feature alone could be utilised in a number of different ways, as well as health care and potentially even in computer graphics production and motion capture.

All of the information captured is sent wirelessly via a Bluetooth 4.0 LTE connection, to the accompanying smartphone app for analysis by a coach or medical examiner.

“Initially, we expect our fabric sensors to invigorate the health and exercise wearable technology markets, but as more people, in a wider range of areas, experiment with them, new opportunities will present themselves, said O’Brien (via ElectronicsWeekly).

An interesting application for this technology would be virtual reality, whereby a suit developed with these sensors built in to each major muscle group, could theoretically allow full body control within a game, without the need for a camera system. The only downside would be that the person in question would need to be suspended somehow to prevent injury. Perhaps we’re not quite so far off from a Lawnmower man like future as we imagine?