Our weekly Q&A session continues this week with Janne Pylväs, the CEO of Finnish intelligent clothing designer Myontec. To briefly summarize the company, Myontec develops, manufactures and markets sensory solutions to measure muscle activity and a variety of bio-signals from the wearer’s body. Additionally, it offers a sports performance analyzer providing online and direct information on the activity of functional muscle groups and assesses the maximum capacity of the subject’s neuromuscular systems. Currently, its products are used for performance testing, training, research on sports and physical activities, field studies, and even are used on research for occupational health and ergonomics. Of note, Myontec finished in 3rd place at our sports startup competition at our LA Sports and Tech event in LA a few weeks ago.
SCSV: The technology you have created offers a great deal of insight to an athlete’s performance. How exactly did you get the idea of Myontec? Janne Pylväs: Myontec is a spin-off of Mega Electronics, a Finnish medical technology company specialized in bio-signal monitoring for cardiology, neurology, rehabilitation, occupational health and sports medicine. The founder of Myontec, Pekka Tolvanen, was developing muscle activation monitoring products for Mega. The starting phase for Myontec was collaboration with Mega, Suunto, and Clothing+ to find other bio-signals than heart rate to monitor in sport specific training, outside of the lab.In terms of dates and history, we were established in 2008. The technology was patented, validated and scientifically proven during the first years. Our Myontec Mbody was launched in early 2014 it won the WT World Innovation Cup - Wearable Technology Innovation Award in the Sports & Fitness category.
Photo: NHL athlete, courtesy of Myontec
SCSV: Especially noting the increased cost of injuries in pro sports (The NBA pays $350M in salaries to injured players every year), could you explain how your company helps athletes and professional teams prevent injuries?
Janne Pylväs: Our technology is the only one in the market providing highly accurate threshold and training zones for the athletes in real-time. For example, Mbody smart shorts are measuring muscle level bio-signals – electromyography (EMG). Mbody is also sending alerts if your injury risk is rising due to imbalance, muscle tension or fatigue. With our technology, coaches can get alerts before the athlete is feeling or getting cramps – or before hitting the fatigue threshold. Mbody helps to improve training quality instead of quantity. Having our technology in place, we have focused on analyzing EMG signals in easy to use apps and software. We are currently developing many algorithms to improve not only performance and problem detection but to also instructing to improve readiness to train, activation order, technique assessment, and efficiency.
We find that muscle balance and proper activation are the keys to preventing injuries. Together with real-time muscle load info, these features are giving essential information during everyday training, especially at the return-to-play phase. If the injury happens, monitoring muscle activation helps to optimize rehabilitation training and to fasten the rehab process.
SCSV: Specifically, why do professional teams or athletes use your product?
Janne Pylväs: Myontec technology is scientifically validated, patented, and proven wearable technology to monitor muscle activation (EMG). Our Mbody product is premium with high user experience and quality. Our Mbody smart shorts measures the most important muscle groups of the human body, big leg muscles, used in everyday movement and exercises. This is a solution for many types of lower body injury prevention, rehabilitation if injury happens, muscle coordination to fix hidden muscular problems or better sports performance. Mbody gives valuable insight into how players respond to different training and what it means for both their development and rehabilitation.
Photo: Pro soccer player, courtesy of Myontec
SCSV: Could you specifically name a few professional teams that are reaping the benefits of your technology?
Janne Pylväs: Top teams and athletes in various sports but also healthcare institutions and universities. While this is not a complete list, our customers include organizations like FC Barcelona, RDC Espanyol, WestHam United, UCI, Thinkoff, British Cycling, CCC Cycling team, Cycling Federation of Spain, English Institute of Sport, Hertha BSC (Berlin), Real Sociedad de Fútbol, Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, PAOK FC, Lokomotiv FC, FC Astana, FIFA, Ice hockey team Jokerit, Dutch Olympic Committee, Redbull High Performance center, CAR Madrid High Performance Center, UCLA, University of Bath, University of Sydney, University of Shanghai, University of Madrid, University of Lisbon, University of Copenhagen, University of Jyväskylä, University of Eastern Finland, University of Kent, Technische Universität München, Korea Electronics Technology Institute, Respecta (Part of Ottobock), Eksobionics, and Hospital NEO. Recreational consumers also use it as well.
SCSV: Are there specific sports that your technology is better geared for? Also, what sports are you focusing on today?
Janne Pylväs: Our focus is primarily in sport and rehabilitation, but I do need to note, occupational use is growing. While there are no specific sports we focus on, the main sports are endurance sports and team sports. Football and cycling have been the forerunners in taking use of the benefits of muscle activation monitoring. Myontec technology can be used in everyday training in real-time monitoring or post-analyses.
SCSV: What are your main goals within the next 12-month period?
Janne Pylväs: We have gained an excellent foothold in Europe within elite sports. We have also got industry leading clinics as customers during the last few years. But to answer your question, in the next 12 months, we want to be more active in US market, building a powerful reseller network and local Myontec support. The first licensing solutions are out in the market within a year also. We are launching our first co-operations of integrated platforms during this spring. Finally, the Asian market is also promising as we signed last week a deal worth of 100 KEUR (~$106,000 USD) there.
SCSV: I appreciate the time taken to speak with us this week. We look forward to seeing your advancements in the coming months.
For more information on Myontec’s Mbody line and bio-signal technology, visit them on the web at http://www.myontec.com.