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Advanced Smart Garment Previewed at ITF-2015

June 24, 2015 – Leuven (Belgium) and Eindhoven (the Netherlands) – Today, imec and Holst Centre (set up by imec and TNO) are demonstrating the most advanced smart garment to date at the Imec Technology Forum (ITF) in Brussels. The smart t-shirt measures a highly accurate electrocardiogram (ECG), recognizes activity and calculates energy expenditure in an unobtrusive way. The smart t-shirt allows for maximum user comfort and natural movement.

“Wearable technology that measures body parameters has become increasingly popular in recent years. Smart garments have the ability to tackle a vast range of applications from fitness tracking and healthcare monitoring to safety applications, such as firefighters working in dangerous situations. Today, on-body sensing is performed using very tight, compression garments. At imec and Holst Centre, we want to extend the functionality of smart garments and deliver medical-grade data through looser, everyday clothes,” said Ruben de Francisco, Program Manager Wearable Health Solutions at imec/Holst Centre.

Imec and Holst Centre demonstrate at ITF Brussels 2015 a t-shirt with ECG and motion sensing. The t-shirt can monitor data such as the wearer’s heart rate, heart rate variability, activities performed and calories burned, and share information over the cloud via a mobile phone, tablet or PC.

The t-shirt features imec and Holst Centre’s flexible smart fabric interconnect technology, and miniaturized electronics (1.5cm x 2cm x 2mm) integrated into a module of the size of an extended SD card, containing imec’s high accuracy and ultra-low power multi-sensor data acquisition chip (MUSEIC) with embedded processing, a battery and a Bluetooth Low Energy radio chip. The module weighs only 7 grams (including the battery), and can be removed to wash the shirt or charge the battery.

Imec and Holst Centre’s patented flexible and stretchable interconnect technology preserves the original properties of the fabric, so that the t-shirt remains flexible, stretchable, breathable, lightweight and washable. It also gives complete freedom in placing sensors, actuators and electronics to ensure the highest data quality. All the steps used to integrate the smart electronic functionality –including the lamination technique and interconnect technology– are fully compatible with most standard material production processes and conventional textile manufacturing, enabling rapid industrialization.

“The power consumption of our smart t-shirt has been optimized to achieve long battery autonomy, enabling a wearer to be continuously monitored for the equivalent of three Iron Man races back-to-back. It also offers the perfect platform to integrate additional capabilities such as breathing rate measurements and dehydration monitoring. And we are exploring ways to extend the functionality and to render the garment more communicative, e.g. to feedback the data to wearers. This can be done by integrating simple LED indicators, actuators for haptic feedback or, in the longer term, smart display technologies,” added Jeroen van den Brand, Program Manager Integration Technologies for Flexible Systems at Holst Centre/imec.

The Imec Technology Forum (ITF) takes places from June 23-24, 2015 at the Brussels Meeting Centre in Brussels, Belgium. Hosted by imec, ITF is one of the world’s premier technology gatherings, bringing together some of the top minds and experts in semiconductor, electronics, embedded systems, information and communications technology, energy and healthcare. For more information on ITF conferences visit: www.itf2015.be.

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This press release can be downloaded at http://www2.imec.be/be_en/press/imec-news/imec-smart-T-shirt.html

About Holst Centre

Holst Centre is an independent open-innovation R&D centre that develops generic technologies for Wireless Autonomous Transducer Solutions and for Systems-in-Foil. A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia around shared roadmaps and programs. It is this kind of cross-fertilization that enables Holst Centre to tune its scientific strategy to industrial needs.

Holst Centre was set up in 2005 by imec (Flanders, Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands) with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders. It is named after Gilles Holst, a Dutch pioneer in Research and Development and first director of Philips Research.

Located on High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Holst Centre benefits from the state-of-the-art on-site facilities. Holst Centre has over 180 employees from around 28 nationalities and a commitment from more than 45 industrial partners. Visit us at www.holstcentre.com.

About imec

Imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, India and Japan. Its staff of about 2,200 people includes almost 700 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2014, imec’s revenue (P&L) totaled 363 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec.be. Stay up to date about what’s happening at imec with the monthly imec magazine, available for tablets and smartphones (as an app for iOS and Android), or via the website www.imec.be/imecmagazine

Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a “stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.)and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited).

About TNO

The 3800 TNO professionals put their knowledge and experience to work in creating smart solutions to complex issues. These innovations help to sustainably strengthen industrial competitiveness and social wellbeing. We are partnered by some 3000 companies and organisations, including SMEs, in the Netherlands and around the world. On the topic of Healthy Living we initiate technological and societal innovation for healthy living and a dynamic society.

For more information about TNO and the seven societal themes that are the focus of our work, go to www.tno.nl .

On the topic of Industrial Innovation we reinforce the innovative strength of industry through innovation in products and processes, with a strong focus on sustainability.

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