A promising healthier future is knocking at our door. The Swiss start-up Nanoleq has leaped into the future by launching a patented smart-textiles solution with built-in electronic sensors to monitor our heart, breathing, brain activity and other health indicators.
Monitoring your health seamlessly and comfortably from a distance was relegated to the realm of science fiction until the ETH spin-off Nanoleq came along in 2017. The start-up's talented techies from the Department of IT and Electrical Engineering at ETH Zurich first invented stretchable health-tracking electronics to help paralysed people regain their motor functions. This technology was then adapted for the textile industry, leading to the first ever modern, comfortable and washable health-monitoring clothing.
Nanoleq’s patented solution for the textile industry bears the name Vital Shirt. It equips the garment with stretchable electronic sensors that do not affect comfort and do not need to be removed before washing. Sensors are light and soft, easy to laminate and connect, stretchable and highly conductive. Besides monitoring your heartbeat and tracking your GPS location, they can also stimulate the body to improve workouts, increase strength and relieve pain.
Tackling the large consumer market
Despite major technological advances in portable sensors in recent years, mostly in the form of fitness trackers, the textile industry is waiting for a big breakthrough. The existing products are not very practical, comfortable and durable. Nanoleq's vision is to fill this gap and make sensor-equipped textiles available on the consumer market. Since the Shirt's launch in 2020, it has received growing interest from heavyweight brands in the sportswear industry. The Swiss solution will soon be available to consumers in stores and via retailers.
Mammut CEO and new funds for the next step
Nanoleq recently closed a new funding round and announced support from well-known industry specialists. Among others, Mammut CEO Oliver Pabst joined the team as an investor and advisor. He comments: “For years, I have been looking into many different solutions but did not find proper applications for hundreds of use cases out there. That has changed. With the Vital Shirt, the Nanoleq team is shaping a new era in health monitoring textiles.”
Nanoleq's potential has not gone unnoticed. CEO Vincent Martinez was on the Swiss National Startup Team in 2020 and his enterprise has been ranked as one of Switzerland's TOP 100 start-ups since 2018. With the guaranteed backing of industry giants and investors, Nanoleq is taking further steps towards growing its business. The team is moving into a bigger office space and planning for its work to increase production capacity – to meet customer demands – to be completed by mid-2021.