StretchSense declared "Sports and Fitness Champion"

04 February 2015


ABI spin-out StretchSense is one of five category winners at the WT Innovation World Cup in Munich, their category, Sports & Fitness. As one of five finalists in their category, and one of 22 overall finalists overall who were selected from 500 contestants from 65 countries, this is an incredible achievement.

Dr Ben O'Brien of StretchSense with fabric sensor
Dr Ben O'Brien of StretchSense with fabric sensor.

Last night's win in the WT Innovation World Cup is a fitting plume in the StretchSense cap that already holds ‘Winner, Innovation in Design & Engineering’ from the 2013 New Zealand Innovators Awards, and Fiinalist from the NZVIF Hi-Tech Startup Company of the Year award at the New Zealand Hi-Tech awards of 2014. In addition, CEO Ben O’Brien has personally a 2010 Vice Chancellors Award for Best Doctoral Thesis, a Rutherford Foundation PostDoctoral Fellowship, and the 2013 Prime Minister’s Emerging Scientist Prize.

WT Innovation World Cup competition submissions are divided into the areas of Sports & Fitness, Healthcare & Wellness, Gaming & Lifestyle and Safety & Security, and a special prize, Smart Clothing. Gaming & Lifestyle category winner Sendrato BV of the Netherlands was also declared overall winner for their Smart festival wristbands.

An international panel of industry experts judged the competition submissions based on criteria such as level of innovation, marketability, and usability. In the “Sports and Fitness” category, they were specifically looking for “new or enhanced wearable devices that make tracking even easier and data transmission faster and more secure.”

First held in 2009, the WT Innovation World Cup is part of the Wearable Technologies Conference, “designed to inspire and stimulate next generation solutions with the potential to become real marketable products”.


The benefits of being a winner in the WT Innovation World Cup?

All Cup finalists get to exhibit in the conference, and the exposure for exhibitors alone is huge. Over 80,000 visitors were expected to come and see the speakers and exhibitors participating in the 14th Wearable Technologies Conference in Munich on February 2-3rd.

WT (Wearable Technologies) describe themselves as “the leading innovation platform”. In addition to the Innovation World Cup prizes, they are exposed to WT’s worldwide network of potential customers, which include both potential venture capitalists and clients. The WT Innovation World Cup is sponsored by title sponsor STMicroelectronics, Intel, VARTA Microbattery, AiQ Smart Clothing, and C. Schneider – New Solutions.


Dr Todd Gisby of StretchSense with silicone sensor
Dr Todd Gisby of StretchSense with a silicone sensor.

StretchSense and the Auckland Bioengineering Institute

Formed in November of 2012, StretchSense work with stretch sensing dielectric elastomers which they design, develop, and market as stretch sensors for measuring human body motion.

StretchSense originated from within the Biomimetics Laboratory of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute at the University of Auckland. CEO Dr Ben O’Brien and CTO Dr Todd Gisby were doctoral students of CCO Associate Professor Iain Anderson, and StretchSense employs a number of our graduates.

Ben and Todd’s undergraduate degrees in mechatronics are also from the University of Auckland.