Elitac signs contract for final development and commercialization of BalanceBelt
Good news for thousands of patients with loss of vestibular function. The so-called BalanceBelt, which has been worked on for fifteen years, will be on the market next year. The tool will not only help to maintain balance, but also gives patients the confidence to participate in daily life again.
The BalanceBelt is invented by Herman Kingma, Professor in Vestibulology from Maastricht University, and an international authority in his field. One in five people have to deal with vestibular function loss, 25 percent of all over-65s have a poorly functioning vestibular. Use of the BalanceBelt helps this large group of patients to improve their quality of life. This motivated Professor Kingma to work fifteen years on technical perfection of his idea.
The BalanceBelt emits vibration signals when a patient threatens to get out of balance. The carrier of the belt automatically corrects the body posture. The results of clinical pilot studies in a hospital environment and in the home situation are very satisfactory.
Prof. dr. Kingma developed the BalanceBelt with engineers from Maastricht University. Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus – as a representative of Maastricht University and MUMC+ – transfers the license rights to the Utrecht based company Elitac BV, which specializes in so-called haptic wearables (technology that communicates with the user via movement or vibration). Patients should be provided with this tool via a referral from the physician. In consultation with health insurance companies, it remains to be determined whether the BalanceBelt will be fully or partially reimbursed.
Teijin Invests in Dutch Venture Elitac to Expand Total Safety Solutions
(December 5, 2018)
The Teijin Group announced today that on November 29 it acquired 25,000 shares, or 20 percent of the outstanding shares of Elitac B.V., a startup company that develops textiles and clothing integrated with wearable sensing devices, located in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The shares were purchased through Teijin Aramid B.V., the core company of the Teijin Group’s aramid business, located in Arnhem, The Netherlands.
Gerben de Bree, leader of Teijin’s Total Safety Solution Provider (TSSP) platform, was appointed as a member of Elitac’s board on November 29.
The Teijin Group and Elitac aim to co-develop solutions that will strengthen and evolve Teijinas a TSSP of initiatives for safety, security and disaster mitigation. The investment fits into Teijin’s TSSP platform and reflects Teijin’s strong belief in the value of integrating new technologies into apparel for firefighters, police, emergency personnel and other first responders who frequently work under high stress and in hazardous conditions.
“The ability of Elitac to quickly develop ideas from concept to first prototype by working closely with end users convinced us to deepen our relationship by taking an equity stake in the company,” said Ton de Weijer, Director of Solution 2.0 in Teijin Limited’s New Business Division.
“Teijin’s TSSP strategy perfectly fits with our aim to develop wearables for professionals by integrating electronics and textiles. The investment of Teijin enables us to professionalize and scale our wearable development. It is the starting point of the Elitac Wearable Innovation Lab for electronics in textile wearables”, said Merijn Klarenbeek, CEO and co-founder of Elitac.
Elitac is developing innovative smart textiles and clothing integrated with technologies for tactile information, navigation and wearable sensing devices. In 2017, the company developed the Sentaztactile navigation system through Sentaz B.V., a 50:50 joint venture between TeijinAramid and Elitac. Sentaz tactile navigation system, translates visual and audio instructions from standard navigation systems into gentle vibrations in the driving seats of first-responder vehicles including fire engines, ambulances and police cars. This reduces the response time and mental pressure of first responder drivers in high-stress environments, allowing them to focus better on the road. Multiple first responder vehicles in The Netherlands are already equipped with Sentaz tactile navigation.
About the Teijin Group
Teijin (TSE: 3401) is a technology-driven global group offering advanced solutions in the areas of environmental value; safety, security and disaster mitigation; and demographic change and increased health consciousness. Its main fields of operation are high-performance fibers such as aramid, carbon fibers & composites, healthcare, films, resin & plastic processing, polyester fibers, products converting and IT. The group has some 170 companies and around 19,000 employees spread out over 20 countries worldwide. It posted consolidated sales of JPY835 billion (USD 7.6 billion) and total assets of JPY 986.2 billion (USD 9 billion) in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018.
Please visit www.teijin.com
+81 3 3506 4055
NeuroShirt at the Symposium for the Dutch Association of Neurosurgery assistants
Since 2017 Elitac has been working in collaboration with the neurosurgery department of the academical hospital in Utrecht (UMCU) to develop a T-shirt that will assist neurosurgeons while drilling in the skull of a patient. The NeuroShirt will provide tactile feedback to display real-time information on location and distance of tissues and structures. On the 7th of June 2018, Elitac was present at the Symposium for the Dutch Association of Neurosurgery Assistants. The goal was to introduce neurosurgery assistants to the NeuroShirt and gather knowledge for further development.
The Neuroshirt is developed by Elitac and UMCU. This shirt is designed to assist a NeuroSurgeon while drilling in the skull of a patient. The NeuroShirt is intended to decrease the visual load of a neurosurgeon by using the sense of touch to give information on the location and distance of critical structures, this allows the surgeon to switch less between visual tasks and still receive accurate feedback. Different vibration patterns will indicate the location and distance of critical structures.
At the symposium, Elitac had the opportunity to present the NeuroShirt for the first time to neurosurgeons in training. Two demonstrators have been developed to show the intended functions of the shirt. The assistants could try the prototype shirt, while drilling in a virtual skull.
The demonstrators received a lot of attention and gave us many insights and practical tips on how to improve the interaction and product. We are excited to implement this knowledge into the further research and development of the NeuroShirt.
The NeuroShirt is developed with financial support from the European Union and “Kansen voor West”.
Elitac on BNR radio
(21 april 2018)
A couple of weeks ago our Head of Business, Merijn Klarenbeek, explained the possibilities of “tactile information on BNR news radio. Read the article and listen to the show on BNR (in dutch).
3D Haptic Shirt for Cyclists
In the beginning of December 2017 Elitac and BYBORRE joined forces in the development of a HapticJersey for cyclists to improve cycling experience, quality and performance. The goal is to create an unique user experience for cyclists. Currently biometric and navigation data is provided by non-intuitve platforms like mobile phones, heart-rate belts and sports watches that are an unnatural addition to the body of the athlete. Integrating sensors and actuators directly into the fabric of the cycling jersey enables data gathering as well as haptic feedback in a less obtrusive and more intuitive experience.
The collaboration combines the key expertise of BYBORRE’s engineered knits and integrated haptic interfaces of Elitac.
BYBORRE is an Amsterdam based textile innovation studio working on the frontiers of material development, functionality and aesthetics through engineered knits. Over the past six years BYBORRE has worked with clients such as Nike, wings+horns, The North Face, and Daniel Arsham. Through consultation and collaboration with other brands, BYBORRE pushes knit innovation to find creative ways to achieve the project’s goal.
Elitac enables wearable innovation by adding intelligence to textiles in a way we directly interact with the human body. Elitac’s expertise in stretchable electronics, haptic feedback and proprietary operating system enables to create various wearable systems for different (professional) markets. The electronic circuits behave like textiles and can be integrated in different garments, like the HapticJersey for cyclists.
The Haptic Jersey provides a new kind of interaction on the skin while training or racing, without the need to look at a cycling computer, smartwatch or smartphone. The cyclist will be provided with real-time haptic feedback on their performance. The HapticJersey will be a valuable extension of existing sensors, monitors and social apps. The shirt does not have the intention to replace those systems, but to present existing data in a different way, while cycling. The gentle vibration signals on the skin will provide an information display which is intuitive and easy to understand.
The HapticJersey is developed in close cooperation with professional cyclists, to gather deep insights in what performance indicators are most useful during a training session.
The project is co-funded by RVO as an MIT R&D collaborative project and will run until June of 2019.
Want to be involved?
Are you a passionate cyclist that wants to be involved in the development of the 3D haptic Jersey? Send us an email so we can get you involved in preliminary user testing!
Elitac presents Mission Navigation Belt 2.0 on Purple Nectar
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”
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.
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!
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
“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
Start of NeuroShirt development
Since 2017 Elitac has been working in collaboration with the neurosurgery department of the academical hospital in Utrecht (UMCU) to develop a T-shirt that will assist neurosurgeons while drilling in the skull of a patient. The NeuroShirt will provide tactile feedback to display real-time information on location and distance of tissues and structures. The shirt is developed with financial support from the European Union.
When drilling through a patients skull, certain area’s (e.g. facial nerve) should be avoided. Currently, a visual NeuroNavigator informs the surgeon about the location of those critical structures.
The cognitive load of a neurosurgeon is very high during the long surgery (up to 12 hours). The surgeon continuously needs to switch between microscope and NeuroNavigator (visual load) . Furthermore, he is in constant communication with other operating theatre personnel as well as beeps- and sounds regarding the state of being of the patient.
The NeuroShirt is intended to decrease the visual load of a neurosurgeon by using the sense of touch to give information on the location and distance of critical structures, this allows the surgeon to switch less between visual tasks and still receive accurate feedback.
The NeuroShirt will be connected with the EVADE NeuroNavigator, which is developed at the UMCU. Together with EVADE, the NeuroShirt will add an extra dimension to the already existing visual feedback. The surgeon will perceive tactile vibrations when a critical structure is close and the surgeon should stop drilling. Besides, the direction and distance of the approaching structure will be indicated. All vibro-tactile signals will be easily and intuitively understandable.
The NeuroShirt will attribute to a safer and more efficient neurosurgery procedure.
The NeuroShirt is developed with financial support from the European Union and ‘Kansen voor West’.
Establishment of Sentaz BV
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
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.
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.
Photography: Wouter le Duc
Multinational cooperates with startup
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).
Read the full Startup50 Magazine (in Dutch): link
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) for additional information or a demonstration. The tactile car seat navigation will also be presented at the eRIC in Twente.
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.