Wearable Tech for Better Health

ABOUT US /Wearable Tech for Better Health

Imagine the life-saving implications of a shirt or hat you can wear at home that measures your vital signs or monitors brain activity and transmits the information to your doctor in real time.

Invented by a physician and neurosurgeon working for NTT Basic Research Labs, the hitoe® (hee-toe-ay) fabric does just that. Made of electro-conductive polymer nanofibers, the fabric itself is a sensor, collecting and transmitting all types of physiological electrical data that it touches. If made into a shirt, you can monitor your heart or watch for muscular dysfunction. If worn as a hat or bandana, you can check brain activity.

NTT DATA and partner Chip Ganassi Racing Teams have tested the shirt on the race track with the view toward using the data to improve driver performance. Now, NTT DATA believes its wearable technology will have huge implications off the track: preventing on-the-job injuries for factory workers, truckers and pilots and enabling the elderly and recovering patients to live more independent lives.

Learn more about the potential life-saving opportunities created by this wearable technology in the following video and published pieces:

VIDEO | From Track to Treatment



Like race car drivers, rail yard workers, pilots, athletes and surgery patients experience elevated heart rates, heightened stress levels and flashes of muscle activity.

So when NTT DATA and Chip Ganassi Racing tested the hitoe® shirt on IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan, it was not just about improving his driving performance. It was a way to explore bleeding-edge technology that may improve health and save lives off the track.

Its prototype was developed by a doctor working for NTT in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami and earthquake that struck Japan. Learn why race car driver Tony Kanaan agreed to test the shirt for NTT DATA and what the data has taught him about his body during the race.

“It could help address patient comfort, refinements in care plans, hospital and care costs, and even less waste in the environment.” – Barbra McGann, Executive Vice President, Business Operations Research, HfS

The hitoe® shirt, coupled with NTT DATA’s advanced analytics, “wowed” this HfS analyst because of its potential to transform healthcare and patient comfort.

NTT DATA’s wearable technology has enormous implications for patient monitoring and physical therapy as well as for reducing on-the-job injuries.

“As a medical doctor, I saw people experiencing complications that could have been avoided if diagnosed and treated sooner. I wanted to provide doctors with the ability to monitor ECG and EMG… to proactively treat conditions before they become worse.” – Dr. Shingo Tsukada, inventor of the hitoe® shirt


IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan’s car is full of sensors that provide hundreds of data points about the car’s performance. Yet, his heart rate was never captured during a race. Until now.

NTT DATA and Chip Ganassi Racing tested the hitoe® shirt on the IndyCar driver to see how his training regimen could be adjusted to improve performance.





While driving at speeds of up to 230 miles per hour, driver Tony Kanaan tested the hitoe® shirt.

The test revealed that to resist horizontal G-forces, Tony contracts his muscles to maintain seating posture and physical balance, as well as to prevent blood from being forced to one side of the body.

These are not just interesting facts. The collected data will be used to enhance performance and training, as well as to prevent accidents during the race.

NTT DATA believes the hitoe® technology coupled with advanced analytics will have huge implications for healthcare. NTT DATA is testing how effectively hitoe® garments can monitor vital data of elderly people remotely and has used it to monitor the level of stress and fatigue of office workers.


Named for the Japanese word for kimono with no lining, hitoe® is a functional material which acts as a sensor, capturing biosignals from the heart and muscles of the driver. Toray Industries and NTT Corporation developed hitoe®, which is a registered trademark owned by both companies.