For many of us, the COVID epidemic has made us more mindful of the need to take care of our bodies and guard our health. In 2020, I seriously increased my fitness level and became more dedicated to living a fitness lifestyle more than ever before.
However, I’m no newbie to the gym life and as an avid fitness geek, I’ve always been rather obsessed with staying on track of all the latest in fitness related gadgets. After years and years of wearables that were often too uncomfortable to wear or were just too easily forgotten at home, I was excited to see the smart fashion creations presented by Xenoma at CES.
Xenoma Inc., a Tokyo-based smart apparel startup, showcased “e-skin EMStyle Professional,” the electrical muscle stimulation suit that enables fitness trainers to send individualized levels of stimulation to their clients’ bodies to optimize the effect of their workout. Scheduled for a global release in March 2021, the suit is a “for-gym” version of “e-skin EMStyle Personal,” a smart home workout suit that is also slated for an April release. Both products are extremely durable, comfortable and machine-washable – a feature that is missing in most smart suits –thanks to the company’s proprietary technology for stretchable electronics.
Both suits provide stable electrical stimulation to a wearer’s body via 24 electrodes, so the body can get
the effect of a full workout from just 20 minutes of light exercise. Users can control the levels of
stimulation through the smartphone app. In addition, the “professional” version enables fitness trainers
adjust stimulation for up to 20 different suits that are connected on the same Wi-Fi network.
Interview with Xenoma Co-Founder & CEO, Ichiro Amimori
What inspired you to start the company?
I myself do not like to wear a watch but I do wear clothes, and I came to the idea that smart apparel can be an ideal interface to connect people to the internet especially for healthcare data when I saw the stretchable electronics technology at the University of Tokyo.
What’s your core market? Who is your ideal customer?
Ideally we would like everyone on earth to wear e-skin. For the first target, we are focusing on those who have a strong motivation to use smart apparel like fitness users and those who need to be monitored e.g. the elderly and babies.
What is your vision for the company?
Our company vision is “e-skin makes everyone’s life HAPPIER and HEALTHIER.” To make this a bit more concrete, we aim to achieve data-driven preventive medicine with healthcare big data collected through e-skin.
How is the company doing financially?
Because the first stream of our business is the sales of our products, the simplest way to be profitable is for us to have enough users. We have been receiving investments from VCs and company investors and are heading to be profitable next year.
What is the most critical initiative you are working on now and how do plan on achieving it?
One project we think is key is detecting frailty from walking analysis data gathered through e-skin MEVA, our smart motion capture system. It has a great potential to contribute to the healthy longevity of people in this super-aging society.
How do you drive innovation and new product cycles?
Not only do we work closely with academic researchers as a university startup but from my own experience of working for Fujifilm for 18 years, we also collaborate with big companies proactively to quickly go into the market. At CES in previous years, we have invited our collaborators e.g. Hugo Boss, DNP and Hitachi to exhibit with us in our booth.
Xenoma’s Full Product Line
■ e-skin EMStyle
e-skin EMStyle is a 24 electrode full body EMS (electric muscle stimulation) smart suit for efficient 20-minute training sessions both in the gym and at home with options for remote training. EMStyle is light and very comfortable to wear while being durable enough to be repeatedly machine-washable.
■ e-skin Sleep & Lounge
As comfortable as regular sleep wear, e-skin Sleep & Lounge analyzes your sleep cycle and gives valuable advice for improvement. Combined with a smart remote control, it even adjusts your air conditioner automatically at night. When used with elderly care version app which will be released in June 2021, e-skin Sleep and Lounge becomes smart wear for family members and caretakers to watch over their elderly loved ones while they live apart. It detects the wearer’s heart rate, breathing, movement, and temperature inside the clothing during sleep. It calculates the wearer’s sleep score and provides advice for better sleep. If a fall occurs, it can distinguish between the type of fall (slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall) and lets notified family members and caretakers know.
■ Cool E. Mask
Many struggle in the middle of COVID-19 with conventional disposable non-woven masks, which hinder normal breathing, facilitate heat strokes and cause oxygen deficiency. This in turn leads to adverse health effects such as headaches and dizziness. While Xenoma’s Cool E. Mask stops the dispersion of droplets and aerosols, it allows for much more comfortable breathing than conventional woven masks, feels cool, is washable and dries quickly afterwards. Don’t let Corona compromise your comfort: Try the Cool E. Mask.
■ e-skin MEVA
e-skin MEVA is a smart motion capture system that can complete the measuring preparations by yourself in less than 1 minute. The thin sensors and stretchable wires fit perfectly to the body and the 18 sensors in total enables high quality tracking of unhindered, natural body movements. It works with 6-axis based algorithm so that it can be used even in mixed magnetic fields.
Features of “e-skin EMStyle Personal” and “e-skin EMStyle Professional”
- Enables a wearer to get the benefit of a full workout in just 20 minutes
- Connects to the smartphone that lets a user adjust stimulation to their bodies
- Connects to the “Hub” for managing stimulation to and monitoring the activities of up to 20 suits
- Extremely comfortable to wear
- Machine washable
“Our ’e-skin EMStyle’ suits are perfect workout solutions in the Covid-19 era to maximize the effect of their home exercise or personal training because it can be washed easily in washing machines,” said Xenoma CEO Ichiro Amimori. “But what really sets our products apart from others is our proprietary Printed Circuit Fabric (PCF) technology that makes it possible for us to create these incredibly comfortable and practical suits that people would want to wear in everyday life, and we are very excited to bring them to CES.”