Kenzen Wearable Optimizes Athletic Performance

12/09/2014 - 19:15

To maximize training and endurance, athletes need wearables that do more than count steps and track workouts. Answering the call, Kenzen has released the industry's smart patch wearable to track everything from basic fitness to real time monitoring of an athlete's hydration, lactic acid and glucose levels. Called the ECHO H2, the wearable is a combination reusable sensor and disposable smart patch that utilizes one bead of sweat for real-time analysis. Alerts to adjust workouts are sent to a user's smart device. Developed in Switzerland for medical research purposes, the printed electronics technology has been re-purposed into a thin, flexible wearable smaller than a quarter. The company launched a Kickstarter campaign today, with the goal of raising $75,000 for product integration and initial manufacturing. Kickstarter backers who pre-order the smart patch will receive their ECHO H2 with all future sensor functionality turned on for free.

"ECHO H2 is the first wearable to actually analyze your body fluid. Skin conductivity for hydration is only an estimate and cannot tell you if you are over hydrated, a serious condition among committed athletes" said Sonia Sousa, CEO of Kenzen. "With only a single bead of sweat, ECHO's analysis is a direct measurement of your current condition, so you can improve your workout and maximize your endurance on the fly."

In addition to hydration, lactic acid and glucose monitoring, the Kenzen ECHO H2 tracks speed, active heart rate, and an athlete's 3D motion, for gait and kinetic sequence analysis, among other features. This full picture provided by ECHO H2 gives athletes the ultimate feedback in learning from their body, optimizing their performance and achieving their goals.

"Traditionally, monitoring these levels required a clinical facility and thousands of dollars, and still did not address actual workout or race conditions," continues Sousa. "With the ECHO H2, athletes can take full control of their training, where and when it matters most."

The sensor technology central to the ECHO and H2 products was initially developed for medical research in Switzerland. Kenzen quickly realized the technology could be utilized for sweat analysis in athletic performance. Together with Kenzen, the Swiss researchers designed housing for the sensor technology in a small four centimeter patch, while keeping body measurements accurate and reliable throughout a workout.

"ECHO and the H2 are so sensitive, they only require a small bead of sweat to analyze your body's conditions," said Kenzen adviser Dr. Stephane Follonier. "These real-time analytics are far more convenient than weighing one's self after a workout to see how much water was lost, or knowing you've pushed yourself too far because your legs give out. With Kenzen, it's like having a medical coach with you, pushing you and protecting you."

Kenzen ECHO H2 consists of a printed adhesive biochemical sensor that communicates via low-energy Bluetooth to communicate with smart devices, such as phones and watches. ECHO comes equipped with a customizable array of activity and physiological sensors that can be unlocked through in-app purchases based on each user's unique needs. The smart phone app also controls much of the sensor functionality, displays deep analytics, alerts users to their endurance levels and offers actionable advice to optimize workouts.

"If you are in the middle of your run and your lactic acid build-up is nearing critical levels, the sensor will detect it, send a signal to the app, and your phone or watch will alert you," continued Sousa. "It will give you instructions to slow your pace and let your muscles recover, so that you can continue your workout. ECHO and the H2 get you farther because the lactic acid doesn't get a chance to build up to painful levels that would force you to quit."

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