Big Data

Cipher Skin raises $5 million for mesh sensors that detect motion in real time

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Cipher Skin, a startup developing a network of wraparound sensors that can deliver big data diagnostics, today announced it has raised $5 million in a series A round led by Boyett Group. The company says the funds, which bring Cipher’s total raised to date to $7.8 million, will bolster development of the company’s existing product line and new products in markets like oil, gas, and winemaking.

After his career in the U.S. special operations forces, Cipher CEO Phillip Bogdanovich started training in the gym with Craig Weller, a physical coach he met when serving in Baghdad. Bogdanovich says that as soon as he was separated from Weller, he noticed his recovery began slowing.

While back in the U.S., Bogdanovich and Weller began brainstorming how the training process could be scaled to allow people at home to experience the equivalent of a coach watching and providing feedback. They met with Shaka Bahadu, a physician and health care operations specialist, and the three collaborated to build the sensor platform that became Cipher.

Cipher’s sensors provide 3D motion tracking and automated assessments, enabling physical therapists, trainers, and athletes to build programs from rehab to high-intensity workouts. The company’s BioSleeve monitors motion without cameras, as well as variations in biometrics — including heart rate and dynamic oxygen saturation. Its “digital mirror” displays body movement, joint angles, and vital signs in real time.

Cipher’s sensors create a network that wirelessly integrates with garments. The mesh collects upwards of trillions of data points and sends them to Cipher’s digital mirror app, which models the body’s position in three dimensions. It’s this volume of data that differentiates Cipher’s platform from competing solutions from Xsense, Enflux, and other rivals, according to Bogdanovich.

“Unlike other technologies that rely on AI and machine learning to drive predictions, Cipher Skin works with truly representative data sets that solve for the unintended biases that exist in other systems,” Bogdanovich told VentureBeat via email. “We do not believe there’s a direct competitor for Cipher Skin today. Our technology is unique, and it has various applications in multiple industries. However, there’s some overlap between what we do and some wearable companies, telehealth companies and even athletics companies that are innovating in the smart clothing area. We follow their progress and technologies as we study the market’s needs and trends.”

Sixteen-employee Cipher claims revenue grew 3,200% from 2019 to 2020, growth it plans to sustain by partnering with medical, wellness, athletic, and industrial companies to embed its technology in their products.

Denver, Colorado-based Cipher’s latest round, which saw participation from Draper Capital, Tribe Capital, and TKC Capital, builds on a $1.5 million contract the U.S. Department of Defense awarded the company in June 2020 as part of a ​Small Business Innovation Research​ program. Other defense customers include the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command.

“On the military side, we have hundreds of sleeves in usage through the Air Force Special Operations Command,” Bogdanovich said. “We also have a large number of sleeves that we distributed to physical therapists and potential enterprise partners in addition to the partnerships that we are exploring in the industrial performance sector with large energy and water corporations.”

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