MN Co. Gets Patent for “Motion Recognition Clothing”

Medibotics received a patent for its Motion Recognition Clothing technology, which could create a new type of full-body video game controller. But the product isn't ready for the market, and the company is seeking investments and partnerships with manufacturers as it enters its next stage of product development.

A local company has received a patent for a technology that it says could usher in the next generation of motion recognition in computer gaming and other industries.

Minneapolis-based Medibotics on Wednesday announced that its patent for Motion Recognition Clothing has been approved. The company says its technology translates body motion into computer-readable signals.

The technology involves air-filled or fluid-filled tubes inside clothing. As the body moves, the pressures within these tubes is altered and may be used to measure the motion of the body's joints.

Motion Recognition Clothing isn't yet ready for market, but “preliminary prototyping results are promising,” the company said. Medibotics said it has tested various tube diameters, materials, and other factors and found that “non-linear functions of changes in tube pressures are highly correlated with changes in the angles of the human joints that the tubes span.”

The concept of a motion-recognition controller is not novel-for example, Microsoft's Kinect product has reportedly sold more than 10 million units. But Medibotics claims its system has several advantages over camera-based technologies, in large part because it doesn't require users to remain in front of a stationary camera. And the technology can measure smaller movements-like those of fingers-that existing systems cannot, Medibotics said.

The company also said that, with further development, its technology could have several applications outside of computer gaming, like sports training, medical therapy, virtual exercise, weight management, and telerobotics.

But the road to commercialization includes several obstacles. For example, the company said that calibrating measurements to ensure accuracy when the clothing is worn by different people remains a challenge.

Medibotics said that it is seeking manufacturers and investors interested in partnering with the company as it enters its next stage of product development.