Xenoma’s E-skin, smart body-tracking outfit from Japan, launches Kickstarter campaign

Xenoma CEO Ichiro Amimori speaks at the press conference.
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

See the original story in Japanese.

Japan’s Xenoma, developing a smart apparel product called E-skin, recently announced that it would start sales targeting individual users. E-skin has been sold for $1,000 targeting enterprise users in healthcare or sports training industries thus far, but the firm has established a mass production structure that makes it possible to provide the product at a lower price for individual users. The firm just kicked off a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter today and the product is priced at $479 for the first 100 orders.

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Xenoma was spun out from Someya Group of the University of Tokyo / JST  (Japan Science and Technology Agency) ERATO Someya Bio-harmonized Electronics Project in 2015. In April of 2016, the firm fundraised 180 million yen (about $1.6 million) from Beyond Next Ventures and JST SUCCESS Program, and was chosen as an STS (Seed-stage Technology-based Startups) Support Program of NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization).

E-skin consists of a compression-fit E-skin shirt with 14 stretch/strain sensors and a controller named E-skin Hub which is attachable to the shirt. These sensors are directly mounted on shirts, so that it is lightweight and can detect the user’s motion accurately. The controller has a 3-axis accelerometer and is able to monitor overall body motion without requiring Lighthouse or other 3D scanner motion capture devices.

Additionally, Xenoma has developed apps for E-skin this time, and a case study combining the E-skin shirt and HoloLens was introduced at the press conference. The firm had initially been developing an app to provide a VR (Virtual Reality) experience, but slightly changed the concept of the app into one having more exercise factors rather than VR because the action experience wearing the shirt was more physically demanding than expected. If this crowdfunding campaign reaches its goal, the users will be rewarded with an E-skin shirt, an E-skin Hub controller and their choice out of the three mobile apps.

The users can enjoy the E-skin experience with using the app, as well as developing their own experience using SDK (Software Development Kit) provided by Xenoma. The supported platforms include Windows 10, Android, .NET C# and Unity as before, but in addition is to be available for Mac OS X, iOS 10, Java and Unreal Engine. For the convenience of developers, the firm provides the package in a form exportable to the TensorFlow deep learning library.

Xenoma is currently exhibiting these products at SIGGRAPH, the interactive technology show taking place in Las Vegas, aiming to draw the interest of early adopters from the US and global markets.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy