The global market for smart fabrics and intelligent textiles and its applications is growing.
An early and likely application for Footfalls & Heartbeats' technology is compression bandages for use on chronic leg ulcers. With a large corporate partner, Footfalls & Heartbeats is in the early stages of developing a design for a bandage that can potentially measure its own tightness and convey information to medical staff by a colour change, noise or another kind of alert. There are also a number of other potential applications in aged-care and injury monitoring in workers in high-risk environments such as military.
Other areas with potential include medical devices, medical monitoring during tests like electrocardiograms, infant monitoring, pressure sensing in wheelchairs and beds, and performance monitoring for top athletes.
In the future, Footfalls & Heartbeats intends for the textile to be sufficiently sensitive to detect the bioelectrical signals of active and passive skeletal muscles. This would have the potential to allow ambulatory ECG and EMG. Other future product development includes the ability to measure blood oxygen saturation levels and blood flow rates. Applications may potentially include injury rehabilitation, neurological trauma reconditioning, real-time stress testing or a human interface for robotics.
Beyond health, Footfalls & Heartbeats' technology also has the potential to measure the mechanical stress in composite structures such as satellites, aircraft wings, wind turbine blades, yacht hulls and foils and high performance car chassis.