NTT DoCoMo reveals smart clothing, fitness band in healthcare push

Mobile carrier sees wearables as key to health business.

Japan's dominant mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo is pushing into wearable technology with new smart clothing and a wrist band that can monitor wearers' health while sending data to smartphones and the cloud.

Developed by DoCoMo parent NTT in collaboration with chemical company Toray Industries, Hitoe is a nanofiber-laced line of clothing that uses conductive fibers to measure heart rate. It's designed to be less invasive and time-consuming than an electrocardiogram test.

The smart cloth contains nanofibers that are coated in conductive resin to transmit signals, along with three credit card-sized sensors attached to the material. The clothing is sensitive enough to produce ECG-style data and yet durable enough for washing and rugged use.

A variety of Hitoe clothing has been created, including t-shirts, long-sleeved dresses, and hats. It's unclear which form the clothing will take, but NTT DoCoMo said in a release that it will aim to release the smartphone-linked wear this year.

"We want to provide our healthcare services through wearables," said NTT DoCoMo spokesperson Jun Ootori. "We are aiming to expand into nursing care as well as expand our current healthcare-related services portfolio with the data collected through the devices."

The clothing could work in conjunction with health-monitoring apps on DoCoMo phones such as i Bodymo, a paid service that has functions like an automatic step counter, exercise tracker, and calorie counter.

Hitoe follows the launch on Wednesday of Move Band, a ¥9,576 (US$93) fitness tracker DoCoMo worked on in conjunction with Toshiba. The 22-gram water-resistant wristband links to Android or iOS smartphones via Bluetooth 3.0 and 4.0, transmitting data that it collects on time spent walking, number of steps, calories burned, and sleeping time.

Medical tech is one of DoCoMo's eight new revenue fields. In its January 2013 newsletter, the carrier targets sales of ¥10 billion from healthcare support services by fiscal 2016.

In July 2012, the carrier set up DoCoMo Healthcare with Omron Healthcare, a major Japanese manufacturer of digital thermometers, blood pressure monitors, and other health products. The new company's mission is to provide healthcare support services such as visualizing and managing health data.

Last year, DoCoMo Healthcare launched two services aimed at linking health info with smartphones. WM (Watashi Move) monitors and analyzes body data from phones and healthcare devices, making suggestions based on the info, while Karada-no-kimochi, which is targeted at women, links DoCoMo smartphones to Omron digital thermometers so users can track their daily basal body temperature, useful in estimating ovulation dates.

In a sign of the mobile carrier's increasing interest in health, NTT DoCoMo said that WM services will be available to i Bodymo subscribers from Friday. The link will allow users to collect data from compatible devices such as body composition meters and blood-pressure monitors simply by waving their DoCoMo smartphones over them.

DoCoMo wants to make the Hitoe smart clothing more rugged for numerous washing cycles. It's considering releasing its wearables overseas but hasn't decided on a date yet, according to Ootori.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags consumer electronicstoshibaaccessoriesNTTNTT DoCoMoToray Industries

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?