The Personalized Lightweight Apparel Network (PLANet) at Simon Fraser University and Mitacs, a non-profit organisation dedicated to innovation, have teamed up to further the development of wearable technologies in Canada.

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will get CA$5.1 million in financing as part of the agreement to pursue their own wearable tech initiatives.

“Through this partnership, we will deliver new smarter, personalized apparel and gear to better our lives, and change the ‘tech’ in tech apparel from ‘technical’ to ‘technology,” stated Professor Neil Branda, SFU Innovates director of technology readiness and prototyping and executive director of 4D Labs.

Materials science, biomedical physiology and kinesiology, engineering, interactive arts and technology will all be represented in this network.

Future wearable solutions are expected to make significant advancements in sports, healthcare, and the military, according to experts.

“The first thing that comes to mind when we think of wearable technology is probably fitness trackers and smart watches, but the technology has the potential to deliver much more than just feedback to the user,” said Branda. Smart helmets, for example, that can diagnose illnesses like concussion based on the impact, might be extremely useful for soldiers.

Garments with inbuilt technologies capable of monitoring performance, on the other hand, could help athletes enhance their performance.

Eric Bosco, Mitacs’ chief business development and partnerships officer, said, “Mitacs is thrilled to cooperate with SFU and the PLANet to assist the development of the next generation of wearable gear and apparel.”

“Mitacs accelerates innovation by bringing together researchers and industry partners in critical areas like these. This arrangement will help Metro Vancouver and Canada become world leaders in wearable technology.”