novel gmbh - art in science

art in science is novel’s motto and trademark because we strongly feel that excellent science is also a piece of art. In accordance with this novel stands for innovation, quality and accuracy. 

Like the Moroccan storytellers, most people have a story to tell about their lives. In what follows we would like to share our story: how novel was born, what are our current endeavours and our plans for the future. Our webpage further provides links and references to resources and themes outside of our company’s main fields of activity.

About novel

With more than 40 years of experience, novel is the global leader in accurate and reliable load distribution measurement systems. The company has developed several system families that are able to measure contact forces between many surfaces, for example between hand and tool, foot and shoe, buttock and airplane seat, or car tires and the ground. All novel systems operate with high quality, calibrated sensors and provide reliable and reproducible long term measurements. Outstanding scientific software for the analysis of medical and industrial data allows the user to be always one step ahead.

The company novel was founded in 1978 by Peter Seitz, who received his education from the Technical University of Munich. The novel headquarters are located in the center of Munich, Germany. The company has subsidiaries in Minneapolis/St. Paul, United States, and in Nottingham, United Kingdom.

Corporate History

From the very beginning, novel focused on medical electronics and sensor technology for industrial applications.
In 1979, novel was the first company in the world to develop a commercially available system for the mobile monitoring of uterus contractions in high-risk pregnancies. novel further developed a device that can measure the opening of the cervix during long-term delivery. In 1980 novel developed the first measurement system for safety in skiing on behalf of the ski laboratory of TÜV Munich. Since 1994 eight international ski teams train with novel measurement systems in order to improve their performance.

In 1982, the German Federal Ministry for Research and Technology (BMFT) approved a grant application for the production of capacitive sensor matrices. A significant BMFT grant was awarded to novel in 1984 for developing a diagnostic pressure platform system for the neuropathic diabetic foot. Nowadays the emed pressure platforms are an indispensable tool in the early recognition and treatment of diabetic patients, and they assist the prevention of ulcerations in patients with neuropathic complications. The project was undertaken in cooperation with the Diabetes Research Group Munich and the LMU Orthopaedic University Hospital Munich.

In 1986, novel presented the first pedography system for the analysis of the dynamic foot function inside shoes (pedar). Ten years later, novel developed a system for the NASA International Space Station to assess body load in astronauts running on treadmills.

In 1989 novel even started it’s own (biannual and worldwide hosted) Emed Scientific Meeting (ESM) history at the university Liverpool. Since then, at this emed-user get together, new scientific studies are released and rewarded, and experienced foot specialists get together with the new generation of specialists to learn about, discuss and shape the future of measurement systems. 

In 1989 also the first, thin, capacitive shearforce sensor was demonstrated, followed up by the manugraphy system. The manugraphy system measures the hand forces while gripping, and provides a detailed and objective functional analysis of the different areas of the hand. 

For horseback riders novel developed a system to assess the interaction between horse, saddle and rider in various movements. Riders can expect to work with a horse that was analysed and trained using a novel monitoring system. 
In the future novel´s technology will allow car drivers to experience vehicle seats that adjust position and shape according to driving conditions. 

The latest release of novel was the wearable system loadsol. A project, which started in 2012, based on a patent to accurately measure force on a partly loaded capacitive surface sensor. This enabled to monitor the ground reaction forces with only one sensor, covering the whole surface under the foot. In opposite to the pedar system – which has many more sensors – the electronics were designed very small and the data could be collected much faster. Also, loadsol became the solution for smart, mobile force measurement during activities of daily life.  

The very successful project was prolonged by the development of loadsolpro – the professional solution for broad range application in measurement. This development was due to the various and numerous users of loadsol system, who were interested in many more different parameters to be measured.  

Loadsol, being the lean version, has shown to be the perfect fit for medical use – as it was approved as medical device in 2012 and as it’s features were shaped to fit the clinical use, without displaying too many parameters unnecessary in clinical application. Therefor it is already used in rehabilitation analysis of partial weightbearing.  

The loadpad, using the same technology as laodsol, was designed to fit applications with ergonomic or educational background, like training on Osteopathic Medicine.  

The company is relatively small but highly specialized in specific solutions. novel is widely known as a reliable partner in dealing with complex tasks and is able to supply an extremely wide field of applications. This has attracted a long list of users in various fields like medicine, biomechanics and industry. These factors have shaped more than 35 years of exciting work and supported the fact that novel is able to guarantee a long-term stability for its employees. Instead of mass production and financial gains, innovation and reliability are the driving factors in all novel developments. 

Today novel systems are used by well-known companies, universities and research centres all over the world.  

Products and Applications

novel has developed several system families tailored to specific applications: emed, pedar, pliance, manugraphy, loadsol, loadpad, texsens and buttonsens.

The emed system utilizes a sensor platform for barefoot load distribution measurements. emed platforms are accurate electronic systems for recording and evaluating pressure distribution under the foot in static and dynamic condition. The emed systems are used for foot diagnostics and the assessment of foot function in many medical disciplines.

The pedar system specializes in in-shoe measurements to evaluate the local load between foot and shoe. Footwear companies such as NIKE Inc, Adidas, LiNing, PUMA and many others are committed users of this technology. The pedar system, which enables to test foot function during sports activities, supports footwear design, improved comfort and injury prevention.

The pliance system assesses load distribution on soft and 3-D deformed surfaces. The pliance sensor family has been developed for the special needs of researchers and industry. Standard sensors are available in various shapes and sizes, and can be configured as single sensors or arranged in elastic matrixes to fit different measuring surfaces. Primary areas of application for this system are measurements of the load distribution on the human body like the back, the face, the chest or the arms and even in joints. For car seats e.g. users of this technology include companies such as Daimler, VW, Porsche, Kia, Hyundai and others.

New developments are under way; wearable technology may play an important role in the future.