Founder & CEO, Myant
Toronto-based textile technology company Myant has made remote care as easy as changing your clothes.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many elderly Canadians into isolation, separating families and loved ones. The decrease in face-to-face visits has left caregivers wondering about their family member’s health and wellbeing.
Myant has found a way to help families take care of their aging loved ones, even from far away.
Skiin Connected Clothing monitors your loved one’s health and wellbeing, no matter how far you are from them. Skiin integrates sensory technology into everyday clothing, such as bras, underwear or tank tops. The sensors read, record and analyze the user’s health and wellness.
Connecting people to care
Skiin tracks health-related metrics throughout the day, such as heart rate, core body temperature*, posture, respiration** and sleep quality. This aggregated data is then sent to the caregiver through the Skiin Connected Life App. The app also enables social connectedness, via built-in call, chat and video capabilities.
“We have created an easy way to check-in on mom or dad, even if they live across town,” explains Tony Chahine, founder and CEO, Myant. “It’s a way to have richer conversations about their health, helping you understand what they mean when they say ‘they don’t feel well’. You can see how active they were that day, or whether they spent the day mostly sedentary. This becomes a way for caregivers to support an aging loved one in the management of their wellbeing.”
The textile computing difference
“The skin is the largest organ in the human body and one of the primary ways in which humans interact with the world around them,” explains Chahine. “The majority of diagnostics happen through the skin, and likewise many of the ways we impact the human body, like the application of heat to soothe sore muscles, are mediated through the skin. It’s a critical gateway to our body.”
“Traditional wearables have significant limitations”, according to Chahine. “They are worn on a specific location on the body (such as your wrist), which limits the type of health information you can extract. Textiles and clothing cover the whole body, gathering data like temperature or biometrics”.
Textile computing is also advantageous because you’re not introducing a new technology or device. Everyone already wears clothes – from newborn babies to elderly people, and other segments of society that are often neglected by technology like those who are physically or cognitively impaired.
“Understanding that many elderly people are not interested in tech products like the latest smartwatch, we created a connection to their wellbeing using their clothes, something they already wear every day of their lives,” adds Chahine.
Another distinction between textile computing and traditional wearables is that these smart garments are bidirectional – they can respond to your body. “In the near future, clothes made by Skiin may respond with thermal energy if you’re cold,” says Chahine. “If feeling pain in your feet, a pair of Skiin socks may deliver therapeutic electrical stimulation**.
Chahine believes that textile computing is the best way for the digital world to connect with humans. While Skiin is currently focused on clothing that connects people to care, Chahine has big plans for the future.
“We aim to transform the way humans work, play, perform and care using all the textiles in your life,” he adds.
*Non medical grade
** Product is currently for investigative use and under pre-submission with FDA and Health Canada. Not currently available for sale in any jurisdiction.