COCOMICOCOMI

Stretchable conductive film
for smart clothing capable of measuring
physiological information

aboutabout

Stretchable conductive film for wearable devices
to realize smart clothing capable of measuring physiological information

Simply wearing it; that is all the user has to do to measure their physiological information via smart clothing.
It is smart clothing which has high usability with a simple feeling of use.
Smart clothing can acquire some physiological information from a heart rate sensor, a temperature sensor, etc. attached on the innerwear.
We have developed the conductive film COCOMI used for smart clothing.
COCOMI is thin and soft, has high stretchability and jointless smooth surface.
Also it has low electrical resistance, enabling accurate physiological measurement.
The application is extended to many uses such as monitoring of physical condition of workers, detection of drowsiness during driving and supporting athletes based on sports science and so on.

FutureFuture

With highly functional and wearable materials,
variety of physiological information will be measurable in the near future

Heart Rate・Joint Angle・Body Surface Temperature・Respiration・Perspiration

Diagram 1: Ideal physiological information measurements by wearable devices

By smart clothing using COCOMI, we aim to achieve real-time measurements of various physiological data simply (Diagram 1).
Physiological information includes heart rate, respiration, perspiration, body surface temperature and joint angle.

For example, when measuring electro-cardiogram potential, conventionally, gel electrodes are placed directly on the skin and information is gathered through them. However, the electrodes could come off due to perspiration. In addition, the wearer could get a rash or feel odd to the skin. Therefore, it is not easy to take measurements in daily life.
On the other hand, wearable device utilizes COCOMI makes daily measurements possible. This device is easy to use since the electrodes are fixed into clothes and come directly into contact with skin.
With this wearable conductive material, we can easily achieve physiological information measuring with high accuracy.

Today, COCOMI is utilized for measuring heart rate, respiration rate, and muscle activity.

Heart rate measurement with wearable devices becomes possibleHeart rate measurement with wearable devices becomes possible

Heart rate measurement with wearable devices becomes possible

Easy-to-wear smart clothing is similar to a T-shirt or innerwear!
COCOMI is a stretchable conductive film which is utilized as innerwear type wearable tech. It gathers physiological information with high precision. Its texture is soft and pleasing to the touch.
You can keep wearing clothes while it sends data via wireless connection. The data can be quickly viewed on your tablet or other devices. Smart clothing using COCOMI accomplishes smooth measurement of physiological information.

StoryStory

From the birth of COCOMI to present and future
Expanding potential of physiological measurement

Interview with the Project Leader

Mitsuhiro Sakuda, Senior coordinator of Fibers & Functional Products Production & Development Operating Department, TOYOBO CO., LTD.

Mitsuhiro Sakuda, Senior coordinator of Fibers & Functional Products Production & Development Operating Department, TOYOBO CO., LTD.

A reliable leader who has been leading the COCOMI project from its early stage.
My favorite way to relax is taking my 3 beloved Chihuahuas for a walk.

COCOMI was born involving various people inside and outside of the company

The COCOMI project began when there was an increased interest in wearable devices. We were conducting joint research with Ritsumeikan University as part of a government project*. "Could TOYOBO create a wearable device in the form of clothing?" was the starting point. At first it was a team of around 10 "volunteer members." Now, it has been five years since the project was initiated.
*"Bright Future for All Ages with Health Innovation by Daily Exercise" from MEXT's "Center of Innovation Program (COI STREAM)" (core base: Ritsumeikan University)

The COCOMI project, often called an "all-encompassing project", has 3 main sections: Laboratory, a department which researches and develops conductive paste, Textile Division, a department which turns the paste into film and puts it into wearables, and Laboratory, a department which analyzes data gathered from the wearable device. Moreover, we even had a sales team though we didn't have anything to sell. It was truly the start of product creation with no boundary between departments.

We develop COCOMI? for not only measuring physiological information
but also utilizing the data
We develop COCOMI? for not only measuring physiological information
but also utilizing the data

We develop COCOMI for not only measuring physiological information
but also utilizing the data

We have been developing a stretchable conductive paste.

We thought it would be easy to create smart clothing just by applying COCOMI onto a shirt. However, we immediately faced our greatest problem: how can we make it washable?

COCOMI has to be in direct contact with the skin to function, so it must be washable. We were at our wits' end, but now the product has evolved so it can be washed more than 100 times. These stories about hardships just never end.

COCOMI has been earning a reputation as a leading product in various fields such as health management and training of race horses, health management of motor racing drivers, detection of drowsiness during driving, etc. We have received high praise from customers that have clear intentions on how to utilize the physiological information acquired from COCOMI. At first, we concentrated our attention on the sports field which we deemed as the closest to the wearable tech field. With high hopes, we made a proposal to famous sporting goods manufactures. We spoke to them, but their response was, "It's interesting, but who pays that much attention to heart rates?" and this ended as a failure. We realized that being able to measure heart rates and monitor them weren't enough. In the future, aside from our current customers, we believe the key to improvement is to capture customers who want to use high precision physiological information measurement capabilities of COCOMI as a service for their end users. Of course, we are also thinking of the sports field.

Don't stick with what you've learned at school,
make your "real specialty field" your weapons!

Don't stick with what you've learned at school,
make your "real specialty field" your weapons!

Don't stick with what you've learned at school,
make your "real specialty field" your weapons!

As we manufacture materials such as film and super fiber, our focus had been on materials which would suit our customers' needs and usage. However, COCOMI used in the smart clothing field, still doesn't have an active market. This is expected to become a new business model for our company because we are involved in all processes including material development, production, and marketing plan. I can see how and who will use smart clothing using COCOMI, and is so challenging for a creator. Surprisingly, for the first time since I entered this company 30 years ago, I went directly to our customers and explained COCOMI to them. I'm having fun with all the experiences I get from this project!

I want newcomers to make use of their strong points. It doesn't matter which field of study you are from. Of course there are important things to learn through schooling, but please also improve your strong points as a person. I am looking forward to hear all your unique ideas!

The Project Team of COCOMI

The birth story of COCOMI

University University
University

Is it possible
to make a wearable device
that you can wear like clothes?

Business Plan and Technological Design

Sakuda [Project Leader]

Sakuda [Project Leader]Considering what kind of customers we want to reach with COCOMI

Omote

OmoteThinking about what kind of fields would be able to use wearable device

Material Development and Technology Development

Kwon

KwonAssessing COCOMI and wearable device as smart clothing; Can they detect physiological information precisely? Can they be worn comfortably?

Irie

IrieDeveloping the stretchable conductive material used for COCOMI

Komatsu

KomatsuDeveloping COCOMI and wearable device for the pets field
Analyzing physiological information acquired by COCOMI

Application Development

Sumimoto

SumimotoDeveloping COCOMI and wearable device for the sports field

There are also around 20 other members involved in sales development.

The Voices of Project Members

Yuuta Sumimoto, Project Group, Business Support Department, TOYOBO STC CO., LTD.

Yuuta Sumimoto, Project Group, Business Support Department, TOYOBO STC CO., LTD.

In charge of developing COCOMI in the sports field. My favorite food is Yosuko Ramen in Osaka.

To make COCOMI a good partner to all athletes in the future!

After graduating from university, I went to study in the United States, and at career recruitment in 2012, I joined TOYOBO. Mostly, I'm working on design and planning. Creating the product logo for COCOMI is one of my jobs.

I've been interested in sports such as soccer since I was a child and I hope we could support athletes by COCOMI that famous sports goods manufacturers would be adopted. Right now, we cooperate with the teams of judo, ekiden (long-distance relay race), basketball and swimming in Tokai University. I am improving COCOMI based on the request of wearing feeling and the test data during exercise. The good performance of athletes directly involved motivates me very much. This company is a workplace with many seniors with a wealth of experiences. Although it sounds like very formal, it's an environment where one can gain knowledge that isn't found anywhere else!

Yuuichiro Omote, Development Group, Technology Development Department, TOYOBO STC CO., LTD.

Yuuichiro Omote, Development Group, Technology Development Department, TOYOBO STC CO., LTD.

In charge of Production Technology Development for COCOMI. If I have to go to a deserted island, I will bring a novel with me.

The COCOMI project is still half way and if you are interested, please raise your hands for the project

Since I joined this company, I've been involved in the "dyeing process." It's the kind of technology attached to cloth products that everyone is familiar with such as antibacterial, deodorant, water repellent, water absorption, etc. Because I've struggled for 26 long years, I have knowledge in fabrics and materials, as well as production technology, and for that, I received a call from the research center, and I joined the COCOMI project. Smart textile is in short "a wearable electronic product". Broadly speaking, they're called smart clothing or smart textile. The ability to apply the technology cultivated in clothing smoothly is our special strength in this new genre.

COCOMI was initially adopted for racehorse training. I developed a training system for racehorses using heart rate measurement by COCOMI.
But there were all sorts of troubles... We kept improving COCOMI, and now it is flawless. This makes me feel relieved! I am in charge of a wide range of things from product development planning to sales planning, and there is the fun of having a project with all members participating while sometimes receiving feedback from the sales representative.

Yoko Komatsu, Comfort Engineering Center, Corporate Research Center

Yoko Komatsu, Comfort Engineering Center, Corporate Research Center

A Mom Researcher of COCOMI. If I had 100 million yen, I would have as many pets as possible.

Through a woman's perspectives, I want to make COCOMI more usable in everyday use

This company has a culture that women play a big role. It may be because women employees used to support the spinning mills that are the foundation of TOYOBO. I joined this company in 2004, but regardless of the research lab or main office, my senior female co-workers have always seemed lively at work. The company understands the life events that serve as turning points for women, so I've actually had maternity leave twice so far. On the other hand, our younger employees seem to have fulfilling personal lives with their hobbies and such.

I had worked on evaluating the textures of cosmetics before this. As men have no real experience for cosmetics, innerwear and so on, they may make a wrong decision. In such a case, "It is my turn." Right now, COCOMI is focused on its capability of measuring physiological information such as heart rate, but we're not just focused on vital sign sensing. It would be nice if you could make your pets happy and measure your "blue index" easily every morning. We hope to develop the products that can use casually in everyday life.

Wichul Kwon, Comfort Engineering Center, Corporate Research Center

Wichul Kwon, Comfort Engineering Center, Corporate Research Center

Leader of Basic Design & Research for COCOMI. I love nature! My hobby is camping.

"Rather than dig a well, climb a mountain!" My strength is a research style that seeks to broaden horizons

As I received a degree in sensitivity engineering, I was admiring this company that was a leading company in this study. My speciality is in the research of "digitization of touch feeling". TOYOBO has been researching the digitization of the sense for many years and has an advantage in this field. Incorporating physiological measurements based on bio-information such as EEG/ECG, etc., we also want to reflect "comfort to wear" in TOYOBO's products. It's definitely a necessary factor in smart clothing. There are many employees hired mid-career like me and they play a big role. A dynamic culture that can be active in any career is one attraction of TOYOBO.

My motto is to guide in a friendly way! Achieving to be flexible and to communicate is essential to the COCOMI project. Here, we have many experienced seniors who would be capable of teaching at universities. I hope that our new employees will make good use of this environment and quickly raise their individual skills.

Michihiko Irie, Chemical Research Unit, Corporate Research Center

Michihiko Irie, Chemical Research Unit, Corporate Research Center

Developing the most important raw materials of COCOMI. If I won the lottery, I would travel the world especially the Antarctic.

Excellent stretchability and conductivity! Creator of the innovative conductive material

Currently, while we have a trend to add value to polymer processing and sell it, I have been researching stretchable conductive pastes in the medium and long term. This is the most important item of COCOMI. To accomplish the COCOMI project, each department has joined forces. Initially, due to the different culture and work style in each section, I wondered if it would really work out, but my fear was groundless. I reaffirmed the importance of internal presentation and department coordination.

In development research work, work-life balance is important. At the workplace, I always tell everyone to study hard and play hard. I look forward to the "explosive power" of our new young employees.

For exampleFor example

COCOMI Application Examples

For Sports

Physiological information measuring device for sports;
apply science to your training with smart clothing

We have concluded a joint research agreement with Tokai University (Hiratsuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Chancellor: Kiyoshi Yamada) regarding for our physiological information measuring wear for sports, and have begun our work together. We measure physiological information of the wearers with our smart clothing that uses our conductive film COCOMI, and develop sportswear that supports effective training. We support athletes with vital sensing and sports science.

For Driving

COCOMI detects driver's drowsiness and warns for safety!
Wearable smart clothing to solve social issues

It is an urgent matter for businesses to prevent traffic accidents that are caused by drowsiness while driving. COCOMI can also be used as auxiliary equipment for safe operation management for bus drivers, long-distance track drivers and taxi drivers. Using a notification alarm when it detects drowsiness while driving, physiological information collected by COCOMI increases safety for motorized society. Furthermore, while detecting the heart rate and drowsiness of the wearer, it can record the movements of the body by 3-axis accelerometer and act as an effective driving management tool. On top of managing long term health, it contributes to safe vehicle operation.

*The system is in joint development with UNION TOOL CO.

For Healthcare

Monitoring the wellness and stress levels of mothers after their childbirth!
Smart textile that is comfortable and provides accurate physiological information

We are working in a joint project with Tohoku University (Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. President: Hideo Ohno) and UNION TOOL CO. to develop a new smart textile for maternity wear. It's possible to use as regular outfits or innerwear. With this smart textile that can collect physiological information with COCOMI and UNION TOOL CO.'s wearable heart rate sensor "myBeat", we aim to achieve what was difficult up until now such as early detection as well as onset and prognostic prediction of postpartum depression.

COCOMI, a stretchable conductive film, developed for smart clothing. Presently, it is used to support athletes during training, safe driving by detecting drowsiness, and the monitoring of the health of drivers. It is also used for mental care for pregnant mothers. COCOMI is a wearable tech material with numerous possibilities that goes beyond the boundaries of fields and uses.