Smart sock maker Sensoria and OHI to launch fall prevention device

By Jonah Comstock
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The non-connected Moore Balance Brace. The non-connected Moore Balance Brace.

Textile sensor company Sensoria has expanded its offering beyond the realm of wellness tracking for athletes and is developing a device to sell to healthcare providers via a partnership with New York medical device company Orthotics Holdings Incorporated (OHI). Sensoria demoed the new provider-facing system at the Health 2.0 event in Santa Barbara this week.

Sensoria has incorporated the textile sensors it uses in its smart socks into the Moore Balance Brace, and orthotic brace from OHI, to create a new product called the Smart Moore Balance Brace. The brace will track not just motion, but things like gait, cadence, and stride length that physical therapists can analyze to predict falls and track recovery. The data is sent to a mobile app accessible by the consumer and to a back-end dashboard for the provider, who can not only see the patient's data, but can communicate with the patient through the app to put that data to use.

"As the clinician who has actually prescribed the brace, I can tell [the patient] what to do in terms of what his activity level should be," Sensoria cofounder and CEO Davide Vigano said from the stage. "I can actually send text messaging and voice feedback to him. The other thing I can do is bring up the full dashboard of all my patients, which are color coded [by level of adherence]. I can see cadence, stride length, exam date, and so forth. I can pull up each one and see the level of activity."

The brace has sensors built into it, and Sensoria also will provide a snap-on anklet accelerometer that will provide additional data to providers.

Sensoria's smart socks have taken a little while to actually come to market. After the company's concluded with a promised delivery date of March 2014, they inked a distribution deal with Vivobarefoot, promising to have the socks in stores in April 2014. They . Vigano said that Sensoria now has 5,000 runners wearing its smart socks.

The foray into the provider space will help diversify Sensoria's business, but it's not too radical a move for the company. Sensoria has always used data to help keep runners healthy, not just by keeping them active, but also by encouraging them toward best practices for foot and joint health.

Health tracking clothing is still in its early days, but market researchers are bullish on its future. Research firm Tractica projected in May that smart clothing shipments would surpass 10.2 million units annually by 2020, up from 140,000 units in 2013.

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