What is the BeBop Sensor technology?
Basically, we connect squishy humans to rigid computers. BeBop Sensor’s technology is a super accurate fabric sensor which can measure force, twist, bend, stretch and pressure, as well as provide haptic (touch) feedback in real-time.
With the embedded sensors, our Forte gloves allow users to have digital hands in virtual reality, enabling people to manipulate objects as though they existed in real life. For example, architects can use them to assemble VR models of their buildings and trainee surgeons can use them to perform virtual operations, with the gloves giving feedback on the accuracy of the surgical movements.
Has this technology been used in a health and fitness setting yet?
The good thing with this technology is that it has a lot of applications and the bad thing is also that it has a lot of applications! We’ve decided to start with a narrow focus – virtual reality – and make enough money to explore all the other opportunities in the future.
However, we have shipped sensors into a number of medical industry applications, from hospital beds to wheelchairs and sports equipment, such as helmets and shoulder pads.
We see enormous potential for this technology in the sports and health and fitness environment. The fabric is very thin, which means it could be easily incorporated into clothes to monitor muscles and give feedback on form, which will then improve performance and reduce injury risk.
The gloves can provide feedback on grip and pressure. If you think in terms of high performance athletes, their grip on a bar or free weights can be the difference between a gold medal and nothing. Sensors incorporated into knee pads and clothing could measure form when doing a range of exercises, while shoe in-soles allow smart gait analysis and to work out imbalances which can improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Gym equipment manufacturers could also use the technology to give accurate and measureable feedback when designing kit. Giving six people of varying heights and weights the opportunity to use the gloves with a prototype would give supremely valuable feedback.
What do you predict will happen in the wearables market in the next few years?
According to IDTechEx, the wearable market is predicted to grow rapidly, set to reach $5bn by 2027. Flexible fabric sensors have emerged as one of the most sought-after sensors in markets which affect consumers every day, including automotive, augmented reality, virtual reality, wearables, health, sports and remote sensing.