The goal of the project is to successfully integrate a new sensor technology into a wearable smart device for accurate, real-time respiration monitoring in humans and racehorses.
Overview of market needPrevious prototypes have successfully measured the respiratory rate and estimated the ventilation in various conditions, including intense exercise. Combined with other sensors such as an ECG (electrocardiogram) and an IMU (inertial measurement unit), the new product can deliver many insights that could transform several fields. This project will enable turning the prototypes into mass manufacturable smart clothing. The first domain will be healthcare and the management of chronic pulmonary diseases such as asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Based on current practices (e.g. the spirometer test), doctors cannot assess properly the condition of COPD patients outside of the hospital. Severe patients are often rehospitalized and thus have a life critical need of close monitoring when they leave hospital. A wearable device with a built-in sensor, wirelessly connected to a smartphone app, monitors at-risk patients in real-time, anywhere, in any setting. This detects small changes in a patient’s breathing pattern, tidal volume, and other vital signs (e.g., oxygen saturation) and will provide immediate, early warning signs of deterioration in lung function. Shared with doctors, this data enables an improved COPD disease treatment strategy and reduces disease management costs. Another possibility is to use it on COVID patients for condition monitoring and rehabilitation. The second field of application is horses taking part in competitions. The solution will allow for monitoring of vital signs in real time during training or racing, which will help avoid overtraining and the resulting injuries and sometimes deaths. Racehorses often develop respiratory issues and exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage. Early detection is fundamental. The proposed solution will sit around the horse’s torso and provide respiratory data in real-time to trainers on smartwatches and phone apps.
Development and SmartX supportSmartX funding will be dedicated to turning the wearables into mass manufacturable prototypes. The consortiul will start by manufacturing prototypes to test the integration of the various sensors involved in the project. Then the final materials will be selected and tested. A series 0 will be made for these smart textiles and a final usability study will be conducted. Finally, a small production will be made while the market is being validated.
Meet the teamThe project is developed by Imbut from Germany and StepUp Health (Solutions) from Denmark. They will work with Fritz Moll Textilwerke GmbH, experts in elastic bands, and LEAP Technology, manufacturer of integrated sensor technologies. Imbut GmbH is a specialist retailer for e-textile components, as well as a development service provider for special textiles and flexible materials. The company specialises in the development and production of special textile solutions in small quantities, the finishing of textiles, and the manufacturing of e-textiles. StepUp Solutions IVS is a startup on a mission to make breathing measurements as easy as those of the heart rate. By using the latest innovations in sensor technologies and fusion, as well as machine learning algorithms, it provides powerful and easy-to-use analytics based on cardio-respiratory parameters. The company is now developing StepUp Health for healthcare and StepUp Horse for the equine market. Connect with Imbut and StepUp Health in our member community (login required).