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Monday, November 3, 2014

BeBop Wearable Smart Fabric Sensor

BeBop Sensors, Inc., a wearable sensor technology company created by musical instrument inventor  Keith McMillen and  KMI, announced their first product, the BeBop Wearable Smart Fabric Sensor, the first and only ultrathin wearable smart fabric sensor that measures all aspects of physicality, including bend, location, motion, rotation, angle, and torque.  Employing BeBop’s patented proprietary Monolithic Fabric Sensor Technology, BeBop fabric sensors continuously provide real-time reporting on force, x/y location, bend, twist, size, stretch and motion for markets, including clothing and protective wear, shoes, healthcare devices, athletic equipment, automotive, robotics, aerospace, gaming, biometrics, prosthetics, recycling monitors and appliance markets.

Created for the rapidly-growing wearable technology market, BeBop sensor technology was created after six years of developing smart fabric sensors for more expressive musical instruments, such as KMI’s popular QuNexus and QuNeo keyboards.  After being approached by numerous companies requesting KMI’s fabric sensor technology, KMI launched spin-off company BeBop Sensors to fulfill the demand.

Unlike other wearable sensors on the market today that only measure physiology (EKG, EMG), electrical conductivity or breathing, BeBop measures actual physicality to sense and display 3D maps of data.  Fundamental, tested, and extensible with over a million sensors already in daily use through KMI’s musical instrument products, BeBop’s Monolithic Fabric Sensors integrate sensors, traces, and electronics into a single piece of fabric to provide greater  sensitivity, resolution, range of deployment, and robustness; all with a tiny size.

As per our understanding, the company is currently only planning to provide the basic technology, not finished products.  Therefore, it may be a while before we see this smart cloth in apparel we can purchase.  At this time we are not sure when the first garments, footwear, or accessories will be available for sale. 

Here are a few possibilities for this fabric in wearables:

·         Wearable Controllers:  for sleeves of jackets or shirts to connect to smartphones to answer calls, adjust volume or select songs, all while the smartphone remains in the user’s pocket.

·         1mm Thin Shoe Insoles:  measures gait, pressure, contact style, fit, and flexure of toes and feet.

·         Planar, spherical or cylindrical geometries:  used as pressure maps, head sensors or handles of athletic equipment.

·         Weight Lifting Gloves:  indicate weight and even load.

·         Cycling Shoe Inserts:  power meters.

BeBop Wearable Sensor Markets include fashion, shoes, accessories and more.       

BeBop is now offering custom turnkey sensor solutions for OEMs to incorporate into their products, ranging from basic sensors to complete wireless solutions with advanced power management.  Visualization programs for any design with an easily-modified SDK (Software Developer’s Kit) allows manufacturers to create custom apps by choosing from a variety of 2D and 3D representations and colors or by driving the BeBop data into whole new applications.  

What do you think of this fabric sensor potential of this product?  Please add your comments below.
 
By the way, you can learn more about textiles, fabric and technology relevant to the fashion industry here on Apparel Search.  Visit the main section of our site to gain access to our tech area etc.

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