Researchers from the University of Salford’s sports science department have been awarded £165,000 from Innovate UK to work hand-in-hand with Smartlife to develop the next generation of smart athletic clothing.
The project will see Smartlife and the university develop state of the art smart clothing which will enable athletes to monitor their performance without the need for bulky gadgets.
Smartlife has already created textile sensors and tiny electronics which can be integrated into sports clothing which will help shape the new technology.
These discreet and comfortable sensors continuously record data which can be transmitted in real time to a Bluetooth receiving device such as a smart phone, providing feedback on how the athlete is performing during training sessions.
University of Salford researchers Dr Steve Preece and Dr Steve Atkins will now carry out work to develop the technology further by helping understand how to combine heart rate and acceleration data to build up an accurate picture of how an athlete’s body is using energy.
The funded project is a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) and aims to transfer knowledge about how to understand and interpret data from body worn sensors from the University of Salford into Smartlife.
Dr Preece said: “This is an excellent example of how technology can be used to help people in their day to day lives. Our work will eventually lead to the development of a new product which will provide users with an accurate estimate of how much energy they have used over the course of a day and should help to change unhealthy sedentary behaviours, common in much of the population.
“If we can get EMG sensors incorporated into clothing, this will be a major breakthrough which will allow us to develop biofeedback systems to help both recreational and elite athletes improve performance and also assist with the physiotherapy rehabilitation of people suffering musculoskeletal disorders.”
Clare Simpson, spokeswoman for Smartlife, said: “The skills and knowledge transferred into the company as a result of the KTP will significantly expand the capabilities of Smartlife’s technology, helping us to achieve our vision to be the global market leader in body worn sensor technology across all relevant markets.”