Tech

Japan’s portable devices aim to promote better sleep, running form

portable device

A device that comes with the Xenomas shirt attached to the blue pocket measures health and other information when you sleep in it. The next morning, a sleep quality score is displayed on a smartphone, as seen at the start-up’s headquarters in Ota Ward, Tokyo. Japan News / Asia News Network

TOKYO – Do you have trouble sleeping? Before going to a specialist, it may help to carry something new in bed.

Just make sure it is electric.

Xenoma Inc., a Tokyo-based start-up separated from the University of Tokyo, launched in May the e-skin Sleep Tshirt worn in bed to provide sleep diagnosis.

A patch of fabric embedded with flexible electronic circuits is sewn into the pocket on the front of the shirt by the belly. The shirt comes with a small electronic device that is attached to the pocket. The device can measure heart rate, body movements and temperature on the inside of the shirt. The data is analyzed using an app that is downloaded to a smartphone attached to the device.

Sleep quality is assessed on a 100-point scale. The app gives advice on how to improve the score.

“My sleep had been light and I felt sluggish more often during the day,” said Daisuke Kobayashi, 51, a business executive in Kobe who bought the shirt in September. “I wanted to improve the quality of my sleep.”

His sleep score has fluctuated from day to day depending on his work, but his score on November 16 was 60.

“The app has made me more aware of my need to get a good night’s sleep, such as by going to bed earlier and waking up earlier,” he added.

Fashion retailer Urban Research Co. also sells originally designed pajamas that use the same device.

“Just by wearing the product, customers can easily monitor their sleep status,” said Xenomas Misako Tatsuyama, who is in charge of public relations. “It’s popular with health-conscious people in their 30s and 40s.”

Listen to your shoes

Portable technology is often associated with watches and glasses, but with the proliferation of flexible, stretchable sensors, there has been an increase in wearables in clothing.

The sophistication of fabrics has been particularly remarkable, which has led to the development of a range of smart fabrics with sensory features.

According to a report published by Yano Research Institute Ltd. in august last year, the domestic smart textile market in 2020 was expected to grow 72% from the 2019 level to ¥ 487 million, and in 2030 it is expected to grow to 47 times as much. 2020 level to 22.681 billion.

Kyoto-based Mitsufuji Corp.s hamon is a shirt made of silver-plated fibers that conduct electricity. By capturing and analyzing biometric information such as heart rate, the shirt can visualize health risks by sending information to a smartphone.

Last May, the Kyoto Prefectural Government adopted the Hamon to deal with changes in the physical condition of overnight patients with COVID-19 and to prevent secondary infections among staff such as nurses.

Hamon is also being used in an increasing number of cases to control the physical condition of workers on construction sites under the hot sun. The health data can be remotely monitored by site supervisors, so it is said to be helpful in preventing some health incidents.

Kobe-based Asics Corp. and Tokyo-based start-up Orphe Inc. has developed Evoride Orphe shoes that provide advice on proper shape while the user is running.

Sensors built into the padded part of the shoe collect data such as stride length and ankle angle. The data is immediately analyzed by a dedicated smartphone app, which vocally tells the user how to run in a way that suits the person. It also shows tips on how to improve and train running technique. The shoes become a personal trainer in a way.

Diversifying roles

Smart wear is also expected to play a role in supporting the aging community in the midst of the low birth rate.

In January this year, the Nagoya-based textile trading company Toyoshima & Co. launched Wearable Smart Town Kurumi Project, which aims to solve regional problems. The first step is to promote the use of smart wear as part of local government health and welfare measures.

Toyoshima signed a partnership agreement with Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, the same month. They have started using such clothes to guard over sleeping children in kindergartens and for the citizens’ physical training projects.

“By visualizing the effects, we can increase the understanding of the measures and realize a safe, secure, healthy society,” said Chihiro Izumi, a Toyoshima official.

The use of portable devices is diverse and the places where they can be carried are expanding.

However, Hiroshi Ashida, a fashion critic and associate professor at Kyoto Seika University, said: “Currently, users of portable devices are still limited to those looking for specific features. If something is developed that everyone can find value in, such as a fashionable jacket, which adjusts the temperature accordingly, these items can spread quickly. ”

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