Tokyo, February 2, 2016 - NTT DATA announced today that electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate and electromyogram (EMG) data were collected from a driver in a series of tests conducted during IndyCar Series between June and August 2015. The driver wore a special garment incorporating hitoe®, a functional material which acts as a sensor, capturing biosignals from the heart and muscles of the driver. The joint experiment was conducted with NTT Basic Research Laboratories (NBRL), NTT DATA, Inc., Chip Ganassi Racing and driver Tony Kanaan.

To meet IndyCar’s safety regulations, NBRL and NTT DATA developed the special hitoe® garment using Nomex, the IndyCar-approved fire-resistant material.


Figure. Undershirt incorporating hitoe® technology

IndyCar drivers run at speeds of up to 230 miles (approx. 378 kilometers) per hour, perspiring heavily and experiencing high G-forces and loud noises. Despite these challenges, the garment was able to successfully collect biological data from Mr. Kanaan as he was driving.

Electrocardiogram (ECG) and heart rate data were filtered to eliminate vehicle vibration, myoelectric activity and certain types of noise. The results show that the driver’s heart rate spiked sharply at the beginning of a race and remained high throughout the competition, similar to the heart rates of people engaged in vigorous athletic activity. Interestingly, the driver’s heart rate also spiked when the car slowed to a stop, indicating that the driver’s heart rate is linked to the performance of the car as well.

Electromyogram (EMG) shows that drivers exert a great deal of energy to counteract extremely large G-forces, ranging between 3 and 5 Gs, while racing at high speeds on oval courses. To resist horizontal G-forces, drivers contract their muscles to maintain seating posture and physical balance, as well as to prevent blood from being forced to one side of the body.


Figure. G-forces experienced while racing

NTT DATA will continue to collect biological information as well as other information from the vehicles. Such data will be further analyzed and visualized with the aim of enabling drivers to enhance performance and train effectively. Also, analysis and quantitative information from veteran drivers could be beneficial for younger drivers to learn how to use their bodies efficiently. The data also are expected to have the potential to contribute to the prevention of accidents during the race.

Based on the technologies and knowledge acquired from this experiment, NTT DATA aims to develop new solutions that leverage biological information from athletes and apply those solutions to various sports by 2020. By testing and visualizing how top athletes use their bodies, for example, NTT DATA’s technology can be used to create innovative training methods and services utilizing quantified biological information.

NTT DATA is using hitoe® wearable sensors in tests targeting healthcare fields such as elderly care as well. In collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, NTT DATA used hitoe® garments to monitor vital data of elderly people remotely, enabling them to continue enjoying independent living. NTT DATA also has succeeded in visualizing level of stress and fatigue of office workers by estimating them from electrocardiographic potential of the heart. NTT DATA will continue to work on developing new services in the field of medical and healthcare that leverage such biological information.

Toray Industries and NTT Corporation developed hitoe®, which is a registered trademark owned by both companies.


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