Elitac presents Mission Navigation Belt 2.0 on Purple Nectar

(October  2017)

Purple NECtar is a yearly event where SME’s, knowledge institutes and Defence show their latest innovations. This year, Elitac presented the results of 2 years of development of the Mission Navigation Belt 2.0.

Defence Innovation Competition and development of the Mission Navigation Belt (MNB)

In 2013, Elitac won the Defence Innovation Competition to improve soldiers situational awareness during complex military operations. In close cooperation with end-users of the Royal Netherlands Army, we developed a wearable with integrated vibration motors to let soldiers feel direction. The user can follow a route along different waypoints, and feels the direction and distance of the next waypoint. The navigation information is presented discrete and intuitively, allowing the user to react immediately in critical situations. The concept was successfully tested in a day and night scenario.

“The Mission Navigation Belt is very comfortable, I was not hindered in my performance and I did not feel the belt under my clothes except for the vibration signals”

“The Mission Navigation Belt is beneficial for navigation, especially in the dark. You are more certain of your exact location and the direction you are going and less dependent on land marks and hand signals”

MNB 2.0

The promising results of the field-tests with the MNB led to the further development of the Mission Navigation Belt.

While the first proof of concept only contained vibration motors, the MNB 2.0 has all electronics fully integrated and can be used as a stand-alone system. The MNB contains an integrated microprocessor, battery, GPS, compass, 7 vibration motors for waypoint navigation and 1 vibration motor for system feedback. A bluetooth connection can be easily set-up using an NFC tag in the shirt, or placed elsewhere on the equipment

With our smartphone application, you can create routes, share these with your team-members and load the routes onto the shirt. Hereafter the shirt can run the route by itself. Furthermore, we connected a remote button module to directly interact with the system, for example to pause the route, skip a waypoint or add a rendez-vous point.

The MNB 2.0 has been tested with the Royal Netherlands Marines, in a pioneering scenario where the MNB was used for navigation on water and land.

Again results were positive; The system was robust and easy to use. Furthermore it proved to be very flexible and adaptive for implementation of new features, even in-between the day- and night scenario. The integrated electronics did not lead to extra pressure points and the system remained comfortable with full equipment.

MNB 3.0?

Currently we are preparing for integration with existing and future soldiers systems and planning final development of the MNB to be able to produce a robust and washable version in large quantities. Next to this we are talking with system integrators to make the MNB part of their state-of-the-art future soldier systems that are world wide available.


Safety Region Groningen wins Innovation Award with Sentaz!

(October  2017)

During the annual Dutch firefighter conference on October 5, 2017, the Jan van der Heyden Innovation Award was awarded to the Groningen Safety Region. The submitted innovation is the tactile navigation system developed by Sentaz. In cooperation with the Groningen Safety Region, the system has been tested and the vibration patterns have been refined.

If you’re interested in more information, please have a look at www.sentaz.com


Sentaz equipped OoD vehicles of Groningen with tactile navigation

(October  2017)

“In week 37, Sentaz equipped five OoD vehicles from Firefighter Department Groningen with tactile navigation. Tactile navigation consists of a six vibrating motors built in the driver’s seat and connected to the navigation software. The driver feels the navigation instructions and therefore needs less attention for the navigation screen. Eyes and ears remain free for traffic and mobile phone contact. This makes driving safer.”

“In TNO research, it has been shown that mental stress decreases and reaction time shortens. The purchase of five systems was the follow-up of a successful pilot, which showed that drivers experienced more rest while driving, and the navigating instructions were intuitive. Firefighter Department Groningen is finalist for the Jan van der Heyden Prize with our tactile navigation system. During the National Firefighter Conference (5 & 6 October), Richard Lubben explains tactile navigation and demonstrates it at the booth of Safety Region Groningen.”

Source: Brand & Brandweer, Sdu Uitgevers – nummer 10 oktober 2017
Translated by Sentaz

If you’re interested in more information, please have a look at www.sentaz.com


Establishment of Sentaz BV

(Feb  2017)

For almost 2 years, Teijin Aramid and Elitac have been working together on the development of a tactile navigation seat for first reponder drivers. As a result of the positive results obtained in this collaboration, it was decided in 2016 to further develop and commercialize the product, resulting in the establishment the joint-venture Sentaz BV earlier this month. On February 15th, both parties came together to sign the shareholders agreement and celebrate this important milestone in the collaboration.

The issue addressed by the Sentaz team is the high mental pressure that first responder drivers experience on their way to incidents, a result of the ever-increasing exposure to audiovisual signals of on-board communication systems. Although on one hand, modern communication technologies help first responders in an effective assessment of the situation on their way to an emergency, a counter effect is that these signals also increase the risk of making navigation mistakes and may distract the driver’s eyes from the road.

Based on the results of an earlier study at TNO, a tactile navigation seat was developed. The seat receives instructions from the navigation system and translates these into different vibration patterns. In doing so, the driver receives gentle vibrations that translate into intuitive navigation instructions upon approaching junctions, exits or even roundabouts. This helps the driver to keep the eyes focused on the road and reduces the chance of making navigation mistakes.

The product, a smart integration of textiles and electronics into a carseat (patent filed), has been tested in 2016 by approaching possible end-users with prototype-systems that demonstrate the key features of the product. The feedback after extensive tests is positive and confirms the anticipated value proposition.

Based on these promising results, Sentaz BV has been established with the goal to further develop, certify and commercialize the system. If you’re interested in more information, please have a look at www.sentaz.com


Fysiopal, a body posture coach

(Sept  2016)

To fortify the body in re-establishing its natural demeanour, the collaboration between Elitac and Pauline van Dongen has resulted in a smart top entitled FysioPal. FysioPal aims to help avoid health issues and rehabilitate the body caused by incorrect postures and upper-body positions.


As the human body is subject to the evolution of the tools it uses, we tend to adjust our physical posture to contemporary devices we work with on a daily basis. The current design of our main working equipment, in particular in an office environment, requires one to adopt postures that disrupt the natural condition of our physique. According to contemporary healthcare research, people who have an office job nowadays are dealing with the negative side-effects of working in an unhealthy sitting position. Affecting such a majority of people, both Elitac and Pauline van Dongen felt it necessary to come up with and employ solutions to combat this issue.

The Product

FysioPal functions as a second skin that measures haptic signals around the neck, shoulders and back of the body. The FysioPal product consists of a top with integrated hardware, designed to be worn under regular clothing, and a smartphone app which visualises collected data on the wearer’s body posture. When the wearer succumbs to an unhealthy posture, the smart tank top communicates a gentle reminder through vibration to rehabilitate the body position. Thanks to the sensorial properties and communication software, FysioPal is ideal for one to wear during office hours.

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Picture fysiopal
Picture fysiopal

Photography: Wouter le Duc

Multinational cooperates with startup

(May  2016)

To reduce mental load of first responders, Teijin Aramid (Arnhem) and Elitac (Utrecht) joined forces. Elitac is a startup that is specialised in transmitting information by means of vibrations. Together Teijin Aramid and Elitac further developed the concept of tactile navigation in a car seat. Currently, this cooperation will be further strengthened by the creation of a joint venture.

For more information you can have a look at the Sentaz website (www.sentaz.com).

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SenSuit project Kick-off

(May 2 2016)

The SenSuit project has successfully started on the 2nd of May. Elitac, Frauenhofer Gesellschaft, S-Gard and EagleScience are kicking off their project at the Elitac office in Utrecht. From now on, the groups will be developing a tracking and communication system that lets the commander localize the executing firefighters in the building.

Elitac will be responsible for the development of the wearable hardware, which will be worn by the firefighters and connected with the commander’s smart device. The system provides the commander with the ability to send simple, predefined commands through intuitive tactile vibrations, to a single firefighter or a group. Furthermore, the firefighters will sense this information continuously on their skin which ensures a decreased cognitive load and an increased situational awareness.

The joint project will be conducted in Heinsberg, Germany and Utrecht, the Netherlands, and continued until spring 2018. Funding was granted by the EuroStars funding program.

Image of the kickoff project

Tactile Car Seat navigation at Ambulance trade show

(April 2 2016)

Elitac and Teijin Aramid presented tactile turn-by-turn navigation at the Ambulance trade show in Harderwijk on the 6th and 7th of April in the Axira Booth. The turn-by-turn navigation system guides drivers by gentle vibrations in their seat. This keeps a driver’s eyes on the road.

The system, which connects to existing CityGIS navigation software, provides distinct vibration patterns for all common navigation cues. Using a tactile feedback system leads lower mental effort ratings and reduces reaction.

A prototype was successfully tested in collaboration with the Ambulance regions of the Axira platform in the first quarter of 2016. Please contact Merijn Klarenbeek (m.klarenbeek@elitac.nl) for additional information or a demonstration. The tactile car seat navigation will also be presented at the eRIC in Twente.

Image of the Ambulance Tradeshow

Elitac presents the Mission Navigation Belt

(March 17 2015)

After 14 months of developments, Elitac presents the Mission Navigation Belt as outcome of the Defence Innovation Competition of 2013. The Mission Navigation Belt is a wearable under shirt with integrated vibration motors that can be used for waypoint navigation and covert communication. This information is presented intuitively and allows the user to react immediately in critical situations.

Defence Innovation Competition 2013

With the Defence Innovation Competition the Dutch army challenged SMEs to use their innovation, creativity and technology to improve the soldier performance during complex military operations. Elitac won in the competition with an idea to let the soldiers feel direction.

Elitac MNB image