Biosensor patches that conform to the body and woven fabrics with embedded electronic components promise greater comfort than more common sensor formats that you wear on your wrist, hang on a belt, or pin on clothing. We began covering woven sensors and smart patches in 2014. With notable exceptions such as the IntelliSense BioButton and Zio Health Zio Patch, patch-based and woven smart wearables are still the minority. Wrist-worn and hard-cased sensor-bearing wearables are the most common forms. Focusing on comfort with no loss of function, Sri Lanka-based Softmatter showcased new technologies at CES 2023 with woven and embedded electronics, including apparel with textile-based biometric sensors.

Softmatter introduced fabrics with integrated electrocardiogram (ECG), electroencephalogram (EEG), and electromyography (EMG) sensors including movement, temperature, and pressure sensors. The company also showed two forms of apparel to demonstrate their technologies. A sports bra with a woven ECG sensor measures heart rate and workout effort with optional respiration and medical monitoring. An EMG compression garment supports muscle movement for greater performance and lower fatigue and tracks muscle activity in real time with movement and pressure sensors.

Softmatter also introduced re-engineered virtual reality and augmented reality headsets plus new materials for wristworn wearables. The headsets and wristbands use woven and flat knit elastic materials that enhance wearing comfort without interfering with functionality. Advances in wearable technologies with unobtrusive designs and comfortable materials could help increase use. We’re looking forward to future wearable heath and wellness devices with ever-greater capabilities, style, and comfort.