Footfalls & Heartbeats was founded by New Zealand chemist Simon McMaster who brings many years’ experience researching intelligent textiles. It is well positioned to become a leader in the provision of smart textiles for a diverse range of applications in a global market that is increasingly demanding truly intelligent fabrics.
Footfalls & Heartbeats has developed a revolutionary and proprietary process for manufacturing smart textiles where the textile itself is the sensor. ™
The Footfalls & Heartbeats technology combines mathematically determined textile structures using electrically conductive yarn to form a repeatable and sensitive sensor network. The technology uses the three-dimensional complexity of a textile structure, including interactions of fibres within the yarn itself, to control the electrical resistance characteristics of the sensor structure.
The technology brings a new level of sophistication to smart textiles through the integration of computer aided design (CAD), conductive fibre technology and micro power sources to produce textile structures that are capable of registering external environmental stimuli in the form of electrical signals. These signals can be filtered, amplified and analysed in real-time to produce multiple data sets relating to physiological output, limb movement, proprioception and either tensile or compressive force detection within or upon organic or man-made structures.
The use of a knitted textile based sensor network provides for ease of manufacture and customisation for any required design. The customisation inherent within the Footfalls & Heartbeats system allows for innumerable sensor shapes and sizes as well as a redundancy capability hitherto difficult to achieve in flexible environments. The sensor technology can be knitted on a range of machines from traditional flatbed and circular to the new seamless technology of Shima Seiki and Stoll.
The process developed by Footfalls & Heartbeats allows control and manipulation of both yarn-to-yarn interaction and the movement of the micro-mechanical structures that form the basis of knitted fabrics. This control heralds the emergence of the next generation of smart textiles where sensor functionality is integrated into the fabric structure to allow real-time monitoring whilst also ensuring comfort, personal privacy, wearability and durability.