Turning Motion into Data - Cipher Skin Human Performance Sleeve

The human body is a data-rich complex system ripe for quantification, analysis, and machine learning.

In the past, we have monitored the body as a complicated system through the lens of reductionism: each biometric was measured as a standalone piece of data. Outside of a lab or hospital, this mostly means heart rate or simple motion such as step-count, with each being monitored independently through distinct devices.

This form of reductionism has gotten us quite far, but it has limits. The next step in technology and methodology must move beyond one-off measurements. Instead, the goal should be to visualize not just individual subsystems of the body, but their interdependencies with well-organized data sets.

The human body should be regarded and explored as a complex system, by monitoring multiple biometrics simultaneously and analyzing the web of interactions between subsystems. Measuring and organizing that data over time will reveal patterns which will lead to predicting outcomes and more importantly, offering earlier interventions.

Cipher Skin is a human body monitoring technology that is a sensor system embedded into garments. Our soon-to-be first product is an arm sleeve, the Cipher Skin Bio Sleeve (CSBS). It is designed to monitor key attributes of the object to which it is applied. In this case, the sleeve measures the complex motion of the upper limb including joint angles, heart rate, pulse oximetry, and biceps expansion.

Our CSBS is comprised of a snug-fitting sleeve with a printed sensor-circuit on the surface of the garment which measures strain while transmitting data and current. This Cipher Skin sensor-circuit is comprised of flexible, durable layers of a conductive polymer sandwiched in between two layers of an insulating substrate. The modularity of our underlying technology allows for the attachment of multiple sub-sensors, which in our current prototype include an O₂ saturation monitor, heart rate monitors and motion sensors.


Multiple, Simultaneous Measurements and Real-Time Monitoring

Cipher Skin’s patented technology encapsulates the body and creates a smart skin to which any number of sub-sensors can be wirelessly attached.

The Cipher Skin moves as the arm moves, detecting flexion, extension, and rotation together producing an image of complex motion that we call the Digital Mirror™. Our sensor-circuit powers and transmits data from sensors like heart rate and oxygen saturation to create a continuously updated, comprehensive picture of multiple metrics and their interactions, at the same time, via the same circuit, and on the same timestamp as the motion data in real-time.

Cipher Skin construction, Power, Data Transmission and Application

Cipher Skin is powered by low-voltage DC from a 5V battery onboard the sleeve. Data transmission is via BlueTooth and/or wi-fi.


Cipher Skin Mesh wrapped around a cylinder

The Digital Mirror™

Our CSBS powers a never-before-possible form of measurement: the real-time complex 3D motion of an object. The Digital Mirror. Any movement or stretch from bending, or flexing a muscle is instantly measured and streamed wirelessly to the Digital Mirror. This adds a unique and powerful metric to the longitudinal data set, which plays a crucial role in many of the body’s behaviors and interactions.


Screenshot of our working prototype of the Digital Mirror™

The Digital Mirror™ provides an immediate feedback loop which can be utilized by anyone from the wearer to a physician. Over time as data sets are accumulated and analyzed, they open the possibility for not just immediately sensing an event but the prediction of that event.


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