By Padma Nagappan
Cambridge, Mass.-based MC10 co-develops products in wearable sensing for sports, fitness and wireless health, working closely with partners. Its first commercial products will debut later this year in partnership with Reebok, while others that use the company’s Biostamp smart sensing sticker will be available next year.
MC10 is capitalizing on the fact that conventional integrated circuits are rigid and brittle while current flexible circuits are not up to par in terms of performance and reliability. Its technology will be able to stretch, twist, expand and deploy with the caliber of integrated circuits, throwing open opportunities for breakthrough applications.
With electronics that interface with humans, rigid boards don’t interface well with the soft tissues of the body, CEO David Icke pointed out during his remarks at the WLSA event last week. MC10 is working freeing up the constraints of rigidity, “so you can do amazing things with interfacing.”
“If you think about how data is collected from the body, it’s by using clunky straps and boxy equipment. MC10 is focused on advancing that so it’s seamless, thin, invisible to the user and scalable for large scale manufacturing,” Icke said.
The specifics of the Reebok product are not public yet he said when asked for details, but “what I can say is that Reebok recognizes that thin, conformal electronics are valuable for athlete performance optimization and injury prevention, integrated with apparel, footwear and equipment.”
MC10 designs, develops and sources the microelectronics module behind the Reebok product. The Biostamp sensing sticker that will be out next year has a variety of applications and Icke gave Mobihealthnews some examples.
- Parents can track a child’s activity level or even location.
- First responders can use a “person-down” triage patch that quickly determines vital signs and the need for timely help.
- For diabetics, a tattoo-like sticker to help detect hypoglycemia before it gets severe.
- For some one with congestive heart failure, a non-invasive way to sense how the heart contracts and get him back on his meds.
- For a veteran amputee, a powerful but comfortable human-computer interface for prosthetics.
Aside from this, MC10 has received significant interest in deploying smart sensors for minimally invasive interventional procedures, Icke said. It has worked on balloon catheters with Massachusetts General Hospital and is also collaborating with large medical device companies.