Making Wearable Technology Scalable and Adoptable

Podcast, Videos


Ilaria Varoli, EVP at Myant Inc., joined me to share her insights on “Textile Computing™,” including how it can be used for remote monitoring, health assessments, pediatric and maternal care, temperature regulation, monitoring of athlete performance, and much more.

Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:

Q: At Myant, you have actually developed an entire platform. It’s a whole concept around this textile computing and you’re calling it the “Skiin textile computing platform”. Maybe you can spend a couple of minutes telling us about some of the hardware, software, and the API that you’re using. What can people expect when they get involved with this Skiin textile computing platform?

A: Skiin is really Myant’s consumer-facing brand. Like I mentioned before we have a product that’s in Beta and that’s the underwear, but we have a series of products that are about to be released in the next few months. They are undergarments for now. There is underwear, a chest band, a bra, and a tank top. Basically, these are sensing products as opposed to actuating products. I think I already mentioned both actuating and sensing. Our products that are about to release in the next few months after that are going to be more actuating. What I mean by actuating is, for example, heat use in therapy or comfort; or it could be electrical stimulation; or haptic feedback. So, fabrics or textiles actually have the ability to be bi-directional, so to speak.

If I can go back to when I was telling you about the beginning of Myant; one of the things that we did when we started and built a full-on at-scale production facility, was we also had to build the team and that took a long time. The team really is comprised of user experience people, fashion people, knitting experts, we have data scientists, we have software people, and we have all kinds of engineers. With this team together, we started initially focusing on the hardware but then we also started developing the software. Right now, the product does come with a companion app and it just got approved from Health Canada for clearance. We can now show an ECG, we were already able to capture but all we could show was the heart rate, so now we can show that it is a continuous ECG.

The app really gives you all kinds of information and it’s shareable. We’re also working with various doctors and we’re in a few clinical trials, for example, with South Lake in New Market and a few others. We’re also doing some work with Mayo Clinic and Sick Kids. The purpose of the clinical trials really is not only to test the product on many patients – I think, almost 1000 patients now – but also to get feedback from the cardiologists in terms of what they need to see and how to evolve the product so that it can be connected to cardiologists.

One of the things that we would like is to not replace, again, but to be a holter monitor option. Right now, if you have an arrhythmia or you have chest pain, you might go to your doctor and then you might have to wait for a cardiologist. Then, they give you an ECG and if they can’t read anything from that, they might want to give you a holter monitor for anywhere between 24 hours and say, 2 weeks, in the hopes that the event may repeat itself. Our hope is that our product can give you retroactive data so you can go to the doctor and they can already see what happened as opposed to waiting for it to happen again, which is a bit stressful and dangerous, frankly. The whole idea is to try and prevent as opposed to react.

For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Ilaria Varoli, or listen to the podcast version, below.

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