Sometimes new innovations are sparked by the research & development team, sometimes by the end-user. Suunto Movesense was originally designed to track athletes more accurately, even when a sports watch could not be worn during the exercise. The wearable sensor has opened up new possibilities among the coaching staff and athletic clubs – but could it do more? That was the thought that sparked the cooperation between Suunto and Screentec.
Consumer product turned into a B2B solution
Kimmo Pernu, Innovation Architect at Suunto, is one of the experts in research, product development, and concept. A wearable heart rate sensor that connects to a chest strap with two studs is a great product in itself but in some cases, even the chest strap can face restrictions. There was clearly a new need for a glue-on ECG solution that is compatible with the Movesense sensor: “Some of our clients were happy with the sensor itself but asked us whether we could come up with a solution that is even more unnoticeable by the user than the original chest strap”, Pernu explains about the initial feedback from Suunto’s clients. “They were very pleased with the open API that allows them to develop their own software for the product and get the detailed data they need. However, we didn’t have such an ECG solution in our back pocket at the time. That’s when I remembered the discussion we had with Antti Tauriainen, the CEO of Screentec”, Pernu continues. Tauriainen was also excited about working together with Suunto: “Having 10 years of experience in glue-on electrodes for medical use has brought our knowledge in materials and structures to a certain level, where we were confident in finding the perfect solution for the Movesense sensor.”
Custom ECG electrodes expand Suunto’s customer base
Shortly after contacting Screentec, the development process for a disposable ECG electrode that is compatible with Movesense was in full motion. Screentec’s experience in disposable ECG electrode solutions and customized products along with the necessary CE certificates for commercial production made the cooperation practically seamless. “The chemistry was on-point from day one”, Kimmo Pernu states. “Screentec is an expert in printed electronics and their initiative in product development was beyond any expectations, so the first prototypes soon evolved into commercial products, reaching the Movesense Medical launch in spring 2021.”
During the development process, Screentec noticed the benefits of using Movesense to test different materials and prototypes in other electrodes as well. Using a reliable and reusable high-end sensor makes it easier – and more cost-efficient – to compare different materials and compositions in variable circumstances. “Movesense has really improved our R&D process in testing and marketing new materials and solutions in glue-on electrodes”, Antti Tauriainen explains. Screentec’s innovative approach and continuous research are beneficial to Suunto as well because new compositions can be utilized in Suunto’s own R&D projects.
Experts working towards customer benefits
Ever since the launch of Movesense Medical product range, the B2B markets for Suunto have expanded significantly. The programmable API enables accurate R-R data and other raw data analysis, which is far more useful for performance analysis purposes than what consumer products can offer. “Now Movesense is much more versatile, enabling a wider range of usage with the glue-on electrodes, but it also tracks movement, acceleration, and everything that is beneficial in monitoring not only athletes but patients as well”, says Kimmo Pernu. Nowadays Movesense Medical is widely used in tracking arrhythmias without clumsy wires and cables, which will help detect abnormalities before they become an issue. “Currently we have a conceptual demo product to measure impact levels in contact sports that could help reduce injuries, for instance – another example of what Movesense is capable of”, Pernu reveals.
“The most valuable trait in our cooperation with Screentec was their excellent attitude towards working together, and their proactive way of developing a new solution”, Pernu sums up. The Screentec CEO Tauriainen agrees with Kimmo Pernu: “Years of cooperation has led to mutual understanding and trust in the ability to develop new solutions together. Our team is very motivated to work in close collaboration with Suunto to support wellbeing and health according to our values.”
Innovation Architect, Suunto