Biometric underwear start-up receives $ 1.5 million government funding –
A smart clothing specialist in Toronto has received a $ 1.5 million grant from the Province of Ontario. The money is being taken from the $ 50 million Ontario Ensemble Fund, which was established in response to COVID-19 to provide financial support to businesses that were able to develop or manufacture essential medical supplies.
To this end, Myant has created a new line of connected underwear (dubbed âSkiinâ) that can track biometric data such as heart rate, posture and step count. Skiin products can also monitor a person’s location and read their core body temperature, although this is not accurate enough to achieve medical status.
The information collected with Skiin can be consolidated and managed via a smartphone application developed specifically for this purpose. The province has suggested wearable devices could help watch for signs of COVID-19, although current versions may only encourage someone to get tested before an official diagnosis. Myant plans to eventually upgrade Skiin to read sleep, stress and breathing biometrics, and enable fall detection and non-medical ECG monitoring.
Until then, Myant will use the $ 1.5 million to conduct a collaborative trial with the Ontario Together Fund. The trial will bring together 2,500 participants, each of whom will receive a free Skiin kit to wear for a period of three to four months. Myant hopes to move forward with a commercial launch once the trial is over, at which point the Skiin kits are expected to sell for $ 299.
The trial will take place at Sault St. Marie, in partnership with the University of Algoma and the Sault Area Hospital. Clinicians will monitor participants’ health through the Myant app, while students will assess the user experience for patients and their healthcare providers. Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade believes that the Skiin kits will be of particular benefit to the elderly, Aboriginal people and others who may not have easy access to centralized health services.
âWhile COVID-19 has caused incredible challenges in healthcare, it has also encouraged us to embrace new and transformative ways of caring for one another,â Myant EVP Ilaria Varoli said. âSkiin will help healthcare professionals bridge physical distances and provide preventative care to ensure the continued well-being of the most vulnerable communities.â
Myant is not the first company to experiment with biometric fabric. OMsignal of Montreal launched a biometric sports bra in 2016, while Apple patented a fabric system that would automatically adjust the temperature if the wearer got too hot or too cold.
(Originally posted on FindBiometrics)