IDTechEx OMsignal

This is a fitness product, and as such, I wouldn’t usually cover it here in Health Tech Insider. But this shirt from OMsignal is special because its sensors are woven directly into the fabric of the clothing. Other systems print sensors onto the fabric, or adhere components to the clothing, but this is a more integrated approach. This is an important step in the direction of helping wearable Health Tech products “disappear” into our daily lives, and a huge improvement over the traditional chest strap required by many heart monitoring devices.

The OMsignal shirt is washable, so you don’t have to give it any special treatment. It is designed to measure heart and breathing rate. The data is collected by a separate module that attaches to the shirt, and relays it to your smartphone. The rechargeable battery is designed to work all day or for up to 10 workouts between recharging. This separate module is admittedly more intrusive and less convenient than the shirt, but presumably that will improve over time as printed electronics will replace it with a thinner, flexible version.

The significance of this product is that the same sensor technology can be used for health and medical applications. The sensors could be used to monitor the heart and breathing rate for patients with heart or lung conditions. The same sensor technology could presumably be used to monitor muscle activity, which would have a wide range of applications in rehabilitation and physical therapy settings. To have sensors that are invisible to the user, with no need to strap on separate devices, is a big step toward increasing adoption of body sensing devices.