Lightning Pitch: StretchSense the ground-breaking wearable sensors

By Tim Hinchliffe October 3, 2016

Company: StretchSense

Headquarters: New Zealand

Founding team: Ben O’Brien CEO, Todd Gisby CTO

Why we like it: It’s wearable tech. What’s not to like? We could just repeat that over and over again, but this is just some seriously cool gear. Basically we want some. 

New Zealand-based startup StretchSense has developed a wearable motion capture sensor that’s wireless, soft and flexible enough to move naturally with the human body.

And while they might look like just a few strips of elastic to the untrained eye, these sensors connect to a special circuit which transmits the data from the sensor through Bluetooth to a mobile phone or tablet.

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The sensor provides real-time motion feedback without interrupting the actual motion. This means you can StretchSense sensors to do a whole range of cool stuff. Just last year, Indian singer-songwriter A R Rahman wore the sensors as a glove, allowing him to play virtual instruments instead of physical ones.

StretchSense offers two types of stretch sensors: a tough, fabric one that can be sewn down or bolted onto a surface making it ideal for sports, and the other is made out of silicone – these are less resilient but more accurate and flexible than the fabric sensor. Pressure sensors in the form of small, discreet pads are also on offer and are ideal for measuring human comfort in healthcare and sports.

The sensors can be customized according to the client’s requirements and can be as little as a few millimeters in size. StretchSense’s high accuracy wearables stand out from other sensor-manufacturers for its ability to measure even the slightest pressure applied to its sensors.

“The accuracy of StretchSense sensors mean that you can apply it on any soft structure that you want to measure, allowing you to receive highly dependable results,” says StretchSense CEO Ben O’Brien. “This flexibility also extends into the number of fields in which our sensors can be used to have a positive impact. Beyond the obvious use for athletes, the health industry can easily apply this technology to help patients in rehabilitation who need to track their progress accurately and independently.”

StretchSense evaluation kits offer a platform for clients to try out different stretch sensing applications. Their enterprise kit is tailored to contain different types and number of sensors to suit the client’s application. Alternatively clients can choose their standard stretch sensor kits which are on sale on their website for $700.

With so many industries interested in StretchSense design and technology, the possibilities for how they could be used are endless.

It’s not just smart sports garments and medical rehabilitation that are benefitting from StretchSense, we’ve also seen invisible instruments played and light-up dresses on catwalk models. Who knows where this technology will go next!