Smart Apparel Captures Movements

Xenoma Inc developed a motion capture technology for its “e-skin” smart apparel equipped with six-axis sensor (inertial sensor).

Xenoma, a venture firm spun off from the University of Tokyo, exhibited the technology at CES 2019, which took place from Jan 8 to 11, 2019, in Las Vegas, the US. This time, the company showed a spats-type product and used it for detecting movements of the wearer’s legs in a demonstration.

The product is capable of motion capturing without a camera. The company aims to detect movements of the entire body in the future.

Xenoma has already started to provide the product for research and development at companies. It plans to release the product in the summer of 2019 by combining it with a smartphone application capable of analyzing movements, etc, as a sportswear, targeting at general consumers.

With help from German research institutes

The new product realizes motion capturing with a six-axis sensor using acceleration and angular velocity. Because it does not use a geomagnetic sensor, it is not affected by magnetism such as of motors used in a factory.

To realize this feature, Xenoma used analysis technologies of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and wearHEALTH (a research group of the Technical University of Kaiserslautern), with which Xenoma co-developed the product. For example, the technologies are used to exclude movements that are unnatural for humans.

In the past, Xenoma announced that it defined the six-axis sensor-equipped product as the second-generation product of the e-skin and would release it for sports-loving people such as marathon runners. The advantage of the product lies in the fact that it can detect movements whose images cannot be taken with a fixed camera, the company said.

In addition to sports, Xenoma has high hopes for the rehabilitation market. For rehabilitation, trainings such as walking training are often carried out by physical therapists, etc at medical institutions. But time for such trainings is limited.

With the new product, it becomes possible to use the sensor to check if a patient is walking as instructed and feed it back to the patient so that the patient can conduct the training anytime as well as to share the data with a medical institution so that they can be utilized next time.

Xenoma also exhibited a product co-developed with Aoki, a major company that sells suits for both men and women. It detects the posture of the wearer when the person is walking, working, eating, etc. It is equipped with four six-axis sensors on the back part of the liner (at the bases of the arms and on the upper and lower parts of the back part). The liner can be detached and attached to another jacket.

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