Frequently Asked Questions

Categories

General

WHAT DOES STRETCHSENSE DO?

We make soft, stretchy, highly precise sensors for measuring body motion. Our specialization is working with hands to measure the movements of fingers and thumbs.

We believe facilitating meaningful interactions in VR/AR environments begin with life-like motion capture of hands. Our products help people translate natural hand movements into virtual environments.

We work with companies in industries ranging from industrial health, safety, and training to v-tubing to help them take their glove products to market.

I WANT TO LAUNCH A NEW PRODUCT USING YOUR SENSORS, HOW DO I WORK WITH YOU TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN?

Our full-stack smart garment team can assist you with: Garment design (fabric selection, pattern making, sizing, sensor layouts); Custom sensors (multi-segment sensors, stretchy cables, new materials, changes in geometry); Integration (including gluing, sewing, connectors, and cabling), Electronic hardware and firmware (comms, certification, sensor fusion, power management, performance) Software (custom apps, calibration, machine learning, sensor mapping, Unity integration, Arduino). Please get in touch with us today!

Gloves

HOW IS YOUR GLOVE TECH DIFFERENT FROM YOUR COMPETITORS?

StretchSense glove technology utilizes our capacitance-based stretch sensors. Our gloves consist of a number of these sensors integrated into a glove at specific locations to provide robust data on how the hand is moving - capturing both multi-knuckle bending and splay movements. These sensors connect to our 16-channel circuit which allows for the transfer of that data to an interface of your choice, either through a wired connection or wirelessly over Bluetooth. Unlike camera-based systems, our gloves transmit the “true” motion of the hands, not the perceived motion, and will not be affected by occlusion or variation in light levels. As well as this, our system isn't dependant on a VR headset to be operational, it is able to function as a standalone product.

HOW DO YOUR GLOVES INTEGRATE WITH OTHER FULL-BODY MOTION-TRACKING SUITS?

We are working with whole body tracking companies to integrate data from our glove demonstration into these existing systems. For the moment we can stream glove data to our own app and log it into an FBX-compatible file format for integration with whole body data in post-processing. Our sensing electronics, however, have multiple general purpose serial ports available for a wired connection to an on-body hub, and we are constantly adding support for new interfaces. Request support for your platform today and we will let you know when it will be ready!

Kits

WHAT ARE THE DISCOVERY KITS FOR?

Our Discovery Kits are for R&D engineers and product developers to discover new ways of utilizing our stretch sensing technology for smart clothing, sports and VR/AR applications. The kits contain a range of sensing elements to enable rapid prototyping. Your design teams will have plenty of sensing elements to play with - twist them, stretch them, have fun! Get creative!

WHY DO I NEED A LARGE NUMBER OF SENSING ELEMENTS?

We don't want your prototyping experience to be limited by the number of sensing elements included in the kit. Having more sensing elements offers more room for experimentation. You have the freedom to apply many sensing elements to more than one project and share them with team members.

WHAT IS THE STRETCH SENSING DISCOVERY KIT?

The Stretch Sensing Discovery Kit provides everything you need to test out your wearable idea. The 10 Stretch Sensing Elements allow you to experiment with sensor placement on your prototype and can be easily attached for more robust testing and development.

Sensors

HOW DO STRETCH SENSORS WORK?

Stretch sensors are designed to measure the deformation of soft goods. They do this by accurately relaying information about how they are changing shape. This information is presented in the form of a capacitance value.

HOW ROBUST ARE YOUR SENSORS?

Our sensors are tough and durable. We produce three standard types of sensors: a silicone only stretch sensor, a fabric-backed stretch sensor, and a compression sensor, and for each, we characterize its behavior with regard to stretch, cycles life, drift, temperature, and humidity. Our stretch sensors for example exhibit negligible changes in performance over 10,000 cycles at their full scale rated deformation. More information can be found on the datasheets for each sensor. Note we also do special versions of each sensor for use underwater.

WHAT IS CAPACITANCE?

Capacitance is the measurement of how much electrical charge can be stored in an electrical component. When our sensors are uniaxially stretched, the amount of charge they can store changes. This change can be read by our electronics and presented as data to your software.

WHY USE CAPACITANCE?

Our sensors’ electrical response is governed by the capacitance equation: C = e0edA/d. Where A and d refer to the surface area and thickness of the sensor. As a sensor changes shape, the aforementioned variables change which result in a change in capacitance. Using the capacitance equation allows our sensors to be highly “knowable”. With our sensors having a highly linear relationship between capacitance and extension, for a given capacitance, we are able to accurately measure how much our sensor has stretched.

WHAT ARE STRETCH SENSING ELEMENTS?

Our sensing elements are like smart rubber bands. They are flexible capacitors that are soft, stretchy and can easily be embedded into clothing or devices.

WHAT CAN STRETCH SENSING ELEMENTS MEASURE?

Stretch sensing elements track how their geometry deforms as a measure of electrical capacitance. When they are attached correctly to a soft body of material - such as clothing or on a person’s body - the sensing elements provide precise information about how that object or person’s body is moving through the sensor’s geometry changes. This can allow athletes to receive feedback on technique, consumers to interact with augmented reality devices in new ways and healthcare providers to track the recovery of their patients.

WHAT IS THE PRICE OF SENSING ELEMENTS IF I WANT TO PURCHASE IN VOLUME?

Stretch sensing elements are made of low-cost materials so customers can enjoy economies of scale at mass production. We have three categories of production that signal large drops in sensor price for our customers – labor-based, machine-based and commodity production. These categories occur at different volumes based on the specification and quantity.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FABRIC AND SILICONE SENSING ELEMENT PRODUCTS?

Both our fabric and silicone sensing elements are suitable for a wide range of applications, but each sensor type is particularly suited for certain applications.

Our silicone sensing elements are useful for consumer wellness applications where they need to be pressed up against the skin, or in applications where they are adhered directly to or integrated into rubber-like materials. Our fabric sensors are ideal for wearable applications where the sensors are sewn into garments.

WHAT IS SHIELDING? WHY IS IT USEFUL?

StretchSense develops shielded silicone and fabric sensing elements for customers to use in prototyping. Shielded sensing elements have a ground layer on the top and bottom of the sensor so that the signal layer in the middle is resilient to electrical noise. Shielded sensing elements are highly recommended for any application that requires the sensor to be close to the human body. The shielding reduces the effect of electrical fields emanating from the human body on the accuracy of the sensor data.

Circuits

WHAT IS A CIRCUIT CHANNEL?

Typically each channel can support one sensing element. Therefore, a 10-channel circuit can connect up to 10 sensing elements. We also offer a Bluetooth® Adapter that allows our 10-channel SPI sensing circuit to connect via Bluetooth® Low Energy to a mobile device.

CAN I CONNECT MULTIPLE BLUETOOTH® CIRCUITS TO THE SAME DEVICE?

Yes, this is dependent on the device specifications and Bluetooth® platform used.

HOW CAN I VISUALIZE SENSING DATA IN REAL TIME ON MY COMPUTER?

Using the record function on our Data Visualization App, you can save data on your mobile phone and later transfer it to your computer.

WHY ARE YOU SUPPLYING THE 10-CHANNEL CIRCUIT WITH THE KIT?

Each 10-channel circuit allows you to connect up to 10 sensing elements at a time. Our 10-channel circuits turn the raw analog signal from the sensing elements into digital data you can use.

WHAT CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS DO YOUR CIRCUITS OFFER?

Our 10-channel circuit supports connectivity via the SPI port. Our BLE shield module can be added to enable connectivity over Bluetooth.

Our 16-channel circuit supports connectivity via Bluetooth natively without the need for any additional hardware. This circuit also supports a wired connection over UART.

HOW DO I STREAM DATA THROUGH WI-FI INSTEAD OF BLUETOOTH USING YOUR CIRCUITS?

A secondary Wi-Fi enabled board such as an Arduino or Raspberry Pi can be used as an intermediary to communicate with our circuits.

HOW DO I CONNECT SENSORS TO A PC?

If you wish to stream data to a PC you will need an intermediary platform such as an Arduino or Raspberry Pi. Connect your sensors to the StretchSense circuit of your choice, then connect said circuit to either an Arduino or Raspberry Pi. From there you can open a connection via your PC’s COM port (or virtual COM port) to begin sending data to it.

WHAT DOES LATENCY MEAN IN THE CONTEXT OF SENSORS AND HOW CAN I OPTIMIZE THEM?

Latency describes the delay after an event occurring (a sensor being stretched) and the visualization of that event.

When considering how much latency exists in the system, it is important to know the steps involved:

1 - The sensor is stretched
2 - The circuit collects raw data from the sensor
3 - The circuit then processes that data to calculate a capacitance value.
4 - The data is ready at the Bluetooth module waiting to be read by your phone, or waiting at the SPI or UART port to be read by your wired device.
5 - Depending on what platform is being used to visualize the data, there will be an additional delay in between the data packet being received by your device and the data being rendered into a readable format for you to use. This can vary significantly depending on your chosen platform

As a general rule, a wired connection will result in lower latency than a wireless connection. If reducing latency is important for your application, you may want to investigate wired connectivity.

CAN I DESIGN MY OWN CIRCUITS TO USE WITH YOUR SENSORS?

We recommend using our pre-programmed ICs (Integrated Circuits) to accelerate your development. We have worked extensively to develop the best sensing electronics to give you the most reliable means of reading your sensor data.

HOW MUCH CURRENT DO YOUR CIRCUITS DRAW AND HOW DOES THIS AFFECT BATTERY LIFE?

Our 10-channel circuit draws ~50mA of current and our 16-channel draws ~10mA. Our kits come with a standard 110mAh battery. This means that using the 10-channel circuit would have an approximate battery life of 2 hours and the 16-channel circuit would have an approximate battery life of 11 hours.

Services

WHAT CUSTOMIZATION WORK DOES STRETCHSENSE DO?

We make complete sensing systems that are ready to be integrated into our customers’ products. We make the sensing elements, connections, circuitry and data capture software, and are able to customize in each of those of areas.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO WORK WITH STRETCHSENSE?

We aim to ensure our customers have the fastest journey from the discovery of sensing technology to product prototyping and mass production. A great starting place is to try one of our Discovery Kits, which are designed to be generic sensing kits for engineers and product developers to start testing with.

I’VE TRIED THE DISCOVERY KITS, AND HAVE AN APPLICATION I WANT TO PROCEED WITH. WHAT DO I DO NEXT?

Get in touch with your sales rep or drop us a line at sales@stretchsense.com. We'll talk you through the product development stages as well as how we manage client information. We understand how important your ideas are, and we have strict policies in place to keep them safe.

Market

WHAT INDUSTRIES ARE CURRENTLY USING STRETCHSENSE?

Our customer base spans a diverse range of industries. Some examples include wearables, sports and fitness, VR/AR, healthcare, rehabilitation, robotics, automotive, aerospace, fashion, music, movies and gaming.

Our customers use our sensing elements to measure body motion, the interactions between humans and devices, and subtle changes in soft industrial objects.

MY APPLICATION REQUIRES REGULATION, HOW CAN I ENSURE THAT THE SENSORS MEET MY REGULATION EXPECTATIONS?

Our sensors are used in a broad range of applications and industries. Please get in touch with sales@stretchsense.com with your specific regulation requirements.

WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS MODEL?

StretchSense is your supplier of Application-Specific Sensing Arrays (ASSA) and we work with you to bring your idea to life through three phases. Discovery Kits and our Consulting Services assist you during the discovery phase to turn your idea into a design and create a proof-of-concept mockup.

Our Prototyping Services assist you during the prototyping phase to turn this proof-of-concept into a more refined Prototype Sensing Array (PSA), to test and iterate until you are ready for mass-manufacture. Application-Specific Sensing Arrays (ASSA) are the stretch sensing systems we supply based upon your entire journey, and is the turnkey solution entirely customized for you.

WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?

We work with over 300 clients in 28 countries who develop cutting-edge applications in various industries. We maintain strict confidentiality agreements with our customers, and understand the importance of being first-to-market to maintain a competitive edge.