Adidas International, Inc. has acquired Textronics, Inc. , a leader in the development of energy-activated fabric technology which enables “intelligent clothing" for use in fitness monitoring.
Textronics develops and commercializes functional products that integrate sensing fibres directly into the fabric of garments, allowing for the measurement of electrical, optical or magnetic signals without using cumbersome electrodes attached to the body. This includes heart and respiration measurements, vital statistics and motion detection.
Established in 2005 through a spin-off from Invista (formerly DuPont Textiles & Interiors), Textronics is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware. The company develops and sells wearable sensors for use in fitness and health monitoring while also marketing its own line of clothes for personal monitoring under the brand name of NuMetrex.
In 2005, NuMetrex introduced the first consumer garment to incorporate heart rate monitoring technology directly into the garment itself. This product was named "2006 Sports Product of the Year" by the Sporting Goods Manufacturer's Association.
Numerous systems of “smart garments” have been discussed in the literature and prototypes are being developed, but not all of these systems comprise true textile integration. Instead of electronic components integrated into the garment, often the electronic components are worn on a belt or elsewhere on the garment.
Textronics have invented a new fabric-based system useful for monitoring motion, such as motion generated by a geometric change in the body surface in response to physiological activity like respiration and heart rate. The measurements are non-invasive do not require electrodes to contact the skin.
The new system consists of a fabric, which exhibits light transmission and reflection properties, that can be placed strategically in a garment. The amount of light transmitted thought the fabric relative to the amount of light reflected by the fabric changes when the fabric stretches in response to a dramatic motion like respiration or a subtle motion like the beating of the heart.Other Textro-monitoring systems include methods for sensing the electrical signals generated by the body via textile electrodes in a unique design configuration which produces high quality signal sensing.