bizEDGE New Zealand logo
Story image

Kiwi wearable company takes on the world, starting in Germany

StretchSense, the Auckland based wearable technology firm, has been named a finalist in the WT Innovation World Cup 14/15 - a competition that focuses on key players in the wearable technologies industry.

The winner of the WT Innovation World Cup will be announced at the WT Conference, which will be held in Munich, Germany, early February 2015.

An international jury chose StretchSense from more than 500 entries, recognising the company’s contribution to the development and manufacturing of wearable sensors. It was the only New Zealand company selected.

One of StretchSense’s partners, Heddoko, was named a finalist in the Sports and Fitness category. Heddoko uses StretchSense technology in its 3D sensing sports garments.

StretchSense says, “Stretch sensor technology is the next breakthrough innovation in wearable technology. It is the first system that provides precision information in real-time for soft objects.”

“Stretch sensors can easily be worn on the body or integrated into clothing. When a user moves, the sensor stretches, transmitting motion information to an app,” the company says.

Ben O’Brien, StretchSense CEO, says, “Our goal has always been to stay ahead of the curve in terms of innovation.”

“Being named a finalist in these sought after awards confirms that we set the standard for making it beautifully easy to use high performance sensors without interfering with the natural motion of the body,” O'Brien says.

“The world is waking up to what stretch sensors have to offer—we saw the market gap some years ago and others are now also realising their potential,” he says.

O’Brien will be presenting at the WT Innovation World Cup Award Ceremony in a talk titled Wearable Technology is Sensor Technology, and the company will have a booth in the ‘enabling technology’ area.

In addition to the company being showcased at the WT Innovation World Cup presentation in Munich, StretchSense says it will be launching a new sensing product at the event.

The company says it will be targeting other sectors such as animation, augmented reality, sport and prosthetics.

With more than 80 customers in 15 countries, a number of developers around the world are already incorporating StretchSense sensors into a range of applications in a variety of areas including healthcare, sports and motion capture. 

Currently the company is also involved in a partnership between bio-engineers from the University of Auckland and scientists at the Stuttgart-based Fraunhofer, one of the largest research organisations of its kind in the world.

StretchSense says its technology will be a crucial component of the intelligent arm brace being created in the collaboration between the Germans and Kiwis.

The company recently completed a capital raise, with investors including Flying Kiwi Angels and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, and says the funds will be used for business development, increasing production capacity and securing intellectual property.