Japanese mobile carrier NTT Docomo and materials developer Toray have been working on joint projects for a while and now they're publicly announcing one. Welcome Hitoe (Japanese for "one layer"), cloth that contains Toray's nanofibers that are coated in a transmittable layer. It's not the orange cloth (that's just standard material), but the nicotine-patch sized square you attach to it that does the sensing.

Place two of these on you and they'll act as electrodes, measuring your heartbeat and even offering metrics resembling a cardiogram. The plan is to connect this cleanly non-invasive health monitor to NTT Docomo's health app platform that's already on its smartphones, developing practical... soft... hardware for sale alongside it. The pitch didn't just include sports clothing, however, with pajamas and other sleepwear planned for launch. Look! There's even a little hat! The sensors will apparently survive tumbles in the washing machine and, having seen an earlier prototype late last year, we can confirm that the patches are suitably lightweight and flexible -- now the work is down to reducing that lumpy hub sensor that we also spotted. Wearable gadgets might finally be going subtle. There's a quick video from our allies at Engadget Japanese after the break.