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Breakthrough multi-purpose Electrodes for Activity Tracking for Interoperative patients and eliTe sport athletes

What is BEAT-IT?

The BEAT-IT project is a joint effort between DEMCON JOHAN sports, CSEM, Pro-F and Elitac Wearables. It is funded by Eurostars. Our goal is to develop a new technology that enhances the abilities of a conventional heart rate monitor with electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring during for example sports activities and physiotherapy. This improves health tracking while maintaining a simple, user-friendly form factor.

Currently, ECG monitoring in these situations is not possible, because the user’s movements disturb the ECG signal.  We plan to achieve these enhanced abilities by adding small sensors and smart signal processing to a wearable garment. The BEAT-IT solution will be a breakthrough innovation for the cardiac rehabilitation and top sports athlete tracking markets.


Wearable technology with multiple sensors can give important feedback to improve physical performance. This can be for top athletes looking for competitive advantage or for patients recovering after a heart problem.

But so far, three main issues have stopped these multi-sensor wearables from being widely used:

  1. They’re not comfortable to wear
  2. They don’t measure well, and
  3. The electrical wiring in the clothing breaks easily

This project aims to overcome these issues by making a robust, highly sensitive activity tracker that is comfortable to wear in a smart clothing solution for sports and medical uses.

BEAT-IT project goals

Improving top athletes' performance: this project creates quantifiable insights into several key parameters

When these are combined with existing parameters, it will lead to the first sport tracker that can measure all the scientifically validated parameters of internal load. Internal load can best be described as how the body reacts physiologically and psychologically to the workload of a certain training session. This technology will allow trainers and coaches to help their athletes achieve their best performance while avoiding injuries.

Reducing fear for patients during cardiac rehabilitation: heart disease is the main cause of death in developed countries, causing about a quarter of all deaths.

Exercise-based heart rehabilitation (CR) has been proven to lower the chance of death by 25% in the first year after a heart event. However, data from the US and EU show that only 15%–30% of patients who had heart surgery or a heart event take part in these programs. One of the main reasons is that patients often feel more anxious and scared of negative outcomes during exercise. This anxiety is often due to a feeling of loss of control after a heart event. The tracker system developed in BEAT-IT will offer continuous, real-time insight into ECG.

Research consortium partners

Elitac Wearables focuses on developing wearables based on electronics integrated in textiles. Elitac Wearables works as a wearable development partner specialising on the product development, haptic feedback design and integration, electronic hardware development, integration of electronics into textile, prototyping and the coordination and scaling of production of the final product. Elitac Wearables typically partners with organisations active in specific niche markets to commercialise the technology and wearables developed. Elitac Wearables sells standard, off-the-shelf haptic feedback R&D and rapid prototyping hardware and custom-made tactile displays. This hardware is used by universities, research centres and commercial organisations worldwide. Elitac Wearables develops all software and hardware for this product in house and values its relationships with suppliers to be able to manufacture new high-quality products rapidly.

DEMCON JOHAN Sports B.V. (Henceforth: JOHAN Sports) is a sport tech company located in the Netherlands and part of the DEMCON group. Since 2014, JOHAN Sports has been developing systems for monitoring the movements of players during training and matches. Johan Sports serves a wide variety of sports teams with a clear company focus on making wearable technology affordable and easy to use for top sport teams. As of today, if offers its services to 125 teams worldwide who altogether use 2495 sports trackers.

CSEM, (Swiss Centre for Electronics and Microtechnology), founded in 1983, is a private research and development centre specializing in microtechnology, nanotechnology, microelectronics, system engineering and communications technologies. It offers its customers and industry partners custom-made innovative solutions based on its knowledge of the market and technological expertise derived from applied research. Having founded several start-ups, it contributes to developing Switzerland as an industrial location. Approximately 550 highly qualified and specialized employees from various scientific and technical disciplines work for CSEM.

Pro-F is an innovative physiotherapy centre with two locations in Enschede. Pro-F treats a diverse range of disorders and complaints and specializes in various therapies (sports physiotherapy, cardiac rehabilitation, dry needling, manual therapy, osteopathy, etc.). In addition to general physiotherapists, the Pro-F team also consists of manual therapists, sports physiotherapists and a movement scientist.

In the top sport sector, Pro-F is a leading physiotherapy provider. Pro-F exploits a test lab for various technologies and methodologies on testing, measurement and training. Examples include gait analysis (with movement trackers), tests of physical parameters, exercise tests and functional movement screen (FMS). Pro-F is the chosen partner of top sport football clubs FC Twente and Heracles (both active in the Dutch premier league) for injury prevention and treatment of complaints.

Project result:

  • Development and implementation of a wearable activity tracking system consisting of

    1. Smart wearable garment
    2. Electrode-based sensors integrated
    3. A connective tracker device which is connected to a base station

Current status

The BEAT-IT project started in September 2023. Currently, we are working together with the users in the sports sector to gather the right user information to optimise the existing JOHAN Sports wearable. With the user requirements we will start with designing the optimized wearable. Next to the wearable we are selecting the best electrodes and setting up the complete system.

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