Sensor patch for monitoring exercixe exertion

In the "Smolki" innovation project, project partners i3 Membrane und Olmatic GmbH, in cooperation with the Hamburg University of Technology and the University of Hamburg, are pursuing the goal of developing a highly innovative sensor patch for monitoring exercise exertion in real time and visualizing it by means of a smartphone app.

The project is being funded for two years through an EUR 700,000 grant from the Central Innovation Program for Medium-Sized Enterprises (ZIM). A corresponding proposal was approved by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) in October, 2018.

The key to obtaining optimum results in endurance training, and therefore an increase in performance, is choosing both the correct scope of training and the appropriate level of exertion. Training at the wrong level of intensity can lead to stagnation, a drop in performance or even harm to health. To avoid this, laboratory-based performance diagnostics are used to determine the personal intensity zone and control training accordingly for both competitive athletes and ambitious amateurs. The factors measured include blood lactate concentration or maximum oxygenation at a specified level of exertion. All currently known measurement methods require specially trained personnel, frequently can only be carried out under laboratory conditions, and provide only snapshots of limited periods.

With "Smolki", for the first time, an innovative and affordable monitoring system, which can be worn conveniently on the body and continually records metabolic parameters by means of sweat, is being developed for the mass market. On the basis of impedance spectroscopy, the new sensor detects correlations between individual exertion and muscle metabolism parameters via a sensor patch on the skin. In addition, a smartphone app provides reliable information about the effectiveness and health safety of training. The innovative core of the new technology is a vertically built sensor capable of detecting even low concentrations of substances such as lactate and changes in those concentrations. This enables all athletes to profit from real-time monitoring, achieve better training results, and avoid overexertion.

The idea for "Smolki" was born as part of the innovation network BodyTec-Technology Network for Body-Affiliated Systems Technology, which is also funded through the ZIM program. In the course of network membership, the partners are actively supported in identifying and initiating research and development projects as well as securing financing through funding acquisition. Members are supported in the development of new technologies in order to increase their competitiveness in the promising market of near-body sensors and wearable systems. Network management has taken over IWS Innovations- und Wissensstrategien GmbH, which currently oversees a wide range of technical innovation projects.

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