Hexoskin, a Canadian company, is developing a sensor-packed T-shirt and companion device for measuring body metrics in real-time.The Hexoskin system analyzes movement, breathing and heart activity, then sends the data to an online application via a smartphone. Unlike heart monitor devices that are strapped to the body (often restricting motion), there is nothing to cause discomfort when exercising in the Hexoskin shirt.
Hexoskin initiated an Indiegogo campaign in September to raise $100,000, and the goal was reached in less than three weeks, proving the mass appeal of such a biomonitoring product. Since Medgadget has recently featured a few other biomonitoring products, we interviewed Jean-Francois Roy, the CTO and Co-Founder of Hexoskin, to discover more about the Hexoskin product and how it stands out from other biomonitoring devices.
Gaurav Krishnamurthy, Medgadget: How did the idea for Hexoskin come about? When was the company founded?
Jean- Francois Roy: Hexoskin (Carré Technologies inc) was founded in 2006. Like most people, we’ve experienced sickness and long hospital stays in our immediate families, and we wanted to do something about it. The original plan was to do health data mining and predictive analysis to improve health prevention. We then experienced the pain to get access to our own health data and the difficulty to get devices to measure our health: we had to fix that. We started developing ECG sensors, activity sensors, respiration sensors, temperature, and blood pressure sensors for continuous measurements. Hexoskin is the first product that comes out of our R&D. We strongly believe that healthcare should be personalized, not population-based, and should be patient-centered, not institutionalized.
Gaurav Krishnamurthy: How does Hexoskin differentiate from other wearable shirts like AiQ’s BioMan?
Jean- Francois Roy: Hexoskin is the first open data wearable system for heart, activity and respiration tracking. Hexoskin does not only give a heart rate, it provides a full ECG with heart rate variability; it does not only give a step count, it provides also cadence and detailed accelerometry, it does not only give you a breathing rate, Hexoskin’s dual respiratory sensors provides an accurate respiration volume. As far as we know, we are the sole company offering lightweight, wearable, and accurate respiration sensors.
Gaurav Krishnamurthy: What are the capabilities of Hexoskin? Please could you explain in brief.
Jean- Francois Roy: Hexoskin is simple to use: you put on a shirt and your body is connected to your phone. It’s very simple, but it’s an accurate health monitoring system with ECG, dual respiratory sensors and 3D accelerometers. The Hexoskin device has its own processor and does real-time signal analysis to compute statistics such as heart rate, breathing rate and volume, cadence, step count, activity level, etc. More data processing is provided by our cloud services through an open API. We provide free, unlimited data storage on our servers.
Gaurav Krishnamurthy: When is the product going to be available in market?
Jean- Francois Roy: At the beginning of 2014. You can pre-order now to be first in line on our Indiegogo campaign http://igg.me/at/hexoskin
Gaurav Krishnamurthy: I understand the shirt is washable, but does the user have to remove sensors before washing? Also, is the product able to send messages to physicians or care centers in the case of an arrhythmia?
Jean- Francois Roy: The shirt is machine washable. The Hexoskin electronic device must be disconnected before washing. Hexoskin is not sold as a medical device today, but yes it is possible to set alarms based on physiological data.
Gaurav Krishnamurthy: I understand you partner with OMSignal, which Medgadget has previously featured. Are you making the shirts for OMSignal?
Jean- Francois Roy: OMSignal designs and manufactures its own Hexoskin-compatible shirts. We have an open approach to innovation, and we want to make it easy for manufacturers to integrate our Hexoskin technology in new lines of clothing. Today we are talking about shirts, but Hexoskin technology can also be used for underwear, bras, and almost any fitted clothes.
Product page: Hexoskin…