How it Started

Nextiles’ innovative smart fabric products allow athletes and their training staff to monitor workouts directly through their clothing – no separate pod or strap-on tracker necessary.

Nextiles Founder George Sun developed semiconductive threads that create sensors while pursuing his PhD program at MIT. He designed flexible circuit boards that can be sewn directly into clothing. The end result? The same fabric used by fitness retailers like Nike and Under Armour but with data tracking capabilities.

After working at Puma, Sun launched Nextiles in 2018. Nextiles’ initial  products are knee and arm sleeves, which are popular with football and baseball players. The brand is expanding into other sports gradually.

Why it Works

“We add our circuitry into everyday materials such as spandex, nylon or polyester and can make those garments ‘smart,’” explains John Peters, Chief Business Officer. The team is currently prototyping socks as well as compression shirts due to market demand.

After the training session, athletes simply slide the small battery off of the garment and then throw the clothing in the washing machine – the sensor functionality and quality are unaffected by machine washing.

Beyond the metrics that smart watches track, Nextiles can monitor range of motion and the pressure exerted on a specific joint, data of great interest to coaches and athletes. Additionally, Nextiles can gather data on velocity, angular momentum, strain, and even biometric data such as temperature, heart rate and EKG data.

As for analyzing and viewing the data collected by the smart fabric, Nextiles keeps it simple. Most individuals have too many apps already, so the Nextiles team developed a software development kit that can connect to the backend of users’ existing apps. No separate app or swiping necessary.

Future Potential

So who is taking advantage of this technology?

“We have four partnerships coming out in the near term,” Peters says. “We are working with professional athletes – helping MLB players understand the mechanics of their throws. We’re also working with fitness apparel companies, and we’ve had recent interest from mattress and sheet manufacturers who want to better understand sleep quality.”

As Nextiles grows, companies from other industries are reaching out to explore possible applications. Car seat manufacturers are curious to understand posture while driving, and other OEMs in various verticals are interested in measuring forces for augmented human engagement and interaction. Nextiles can assist in furthering data capture.

“If you can sew into it, we can effectively turn it smart,” Peters says.

Garnering Expertise for Success

Fourscore has been representing Nextiles since the beginning of 2021, and Peters says he learned quickly about the value Fourscore provides the company.

“The Fourscore team has been great at not only getting us up and running as a startup, but also connecting us to other service providers we needed help with – things like data privacy and reseller policies,” Peters says. “Fourscore really fills a void for growing companies. It’s hard to find a law firm that’s so service-oriented and cost-creative for such hands-on service.”

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