Where are the greatest opportunities for sensor development in sports medicine?
Eskofier: I think we've pretty much tapped into the full potential of wearable sensors. There are already many different types of wearable technology out there that collect data directly via smartwatches, for example. Sensors that are integrated into textiles – like those for electrocardiograms – will see a rise in popularity in the near future. Smart textiles can collect data in the form of a T-shirt, for example. Shoes with embedded sensors can perform a movement analysis. There are also very interesting developments in the field of implantable and ingestible sensor technology. Ingestible temperature monitoring systems can directly collect data about the intestinal tract, for example. Meanwhile, implantable sensors can measure glucose levels directly and operate an insulin pump. The next step in this development are sensors based on electromagnetic waves. These sensors can monitor body functions remotely. They are non-invasive and wireless.
What is your current research focus in wearable technologies with applications in sports and healthcare?
Eskofier: Though not necessarily a wearable sensor, I am current involved in research aimed at advancing electromagnetic wave-based sensors for measurement purposes. It’s essentially a radar sensor that can monitor your breathing and heartbeat. Depression and stress could be measured and identified based on observations and movement of people.
What is the subject of your presentation at the MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE?
Eskofier: I will talk about sensor technology that is based on electromagnetic waves and discuss the resulting opportunities for measurement techniques. These measurement techniques could measure information about biosignals including heartbeat, respiration, and biomechanics.
Why is MEDICA the right platform to address this topic?
Eskofier: In research, we want to take people along with us and show them where the journey will take us in the next ten or twenty years. We want to encourage the exchange of knowledge and ideas on how important medical and sports-related data could be captured in the future. The MEDICA trade fair is a great forum for this because it allows us to present our current research and point out any ethical, social, and legal implications.