Toray Industries pushes health-monitoring textile

Toray Industries Inc. will launch a health care service as early as next month to enable companies to monitor the health of their employees using a new material capable of measuring a person’s biometric signals, its president announced.

The textile, called hitoe, is imbedded with wearable sensors that can record a person’s heart rate and electrocardiogram.

The synthetic fiber-maker envisions workers at construction sites or other workplaces with irregular work shifts as being potential users of the service.

It would enable their supervisors to receive a remote warning when the device detects worrying signs from an employee’s data.

Toray developed the textile in cooperation with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. By offering the new service, including the management of the system to collate and evaluate the health data, Toray is aiming for ¥300 billion ($2.6 billion) in sales in health care-related business by fiscal 2020.

“We are going to strengthen the development and production of high-function, value-added textile products,” Toray President Akihiro Nikkaku said at a news conference in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Friday.

He stressed the need to focus on the health care business to take advantage of the increased medical needs of Japan’s graying population.

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