We are a bioelectronics startup developing bioimaging solutions for diagnostics on musculoskeletal diseases on human limbs, with an additional research arm in gesture recognition wristband powered by the same core technology. The core technology we are using had clinical use in lung imaging for decades but was not widely adopted because of its high-cost and size in relation to its moderate accuracy and resolution.
Our company has already developed a low-cost and wearable device with IoT hardware design that is ready for manufacturing. We see the device's potential to alleviate the pressure on healthcare through this affordable bedside monitoring tool, and have since focused on repurposing our device for lung monitoring for patients and recovery, and potentially as a backup diagnostic screening modality.
What it does
It is a wearable device for lung cross-sectional continuous imaging. We believe the low-cost and isolation-friendly device has the potential to assist combating COVID-19, in particular, to serve as a bedside alternative for X-Ray/ CT scan within isolation wards, and as a backup modality for quarantine/ self-isolation monitoring and diagnostic screening.
In particular, our core device is powered by a cross-sectional bio-imaging tool that can capture real-time functional images at 10 frames per second. The device generates small amounts of current that are safe for human body during the imaging process. The wearable device has a dimension of 10x10x4cm (12x25x7cm with display). Applying the technology in the lungs, we can assess the percentage tidal volume corresponding to 6 segregated cross-sectional regions. The technology also has capabilities in mapping 256x256 pixels cross-sectional lung conductivity and density images.
Specifically, we believe there are three potential use cases where this technology could be helpful:
1) Hospital Bedside Monitoring in Isolation Wards The lung imaging device can be a bedside alternative for X-Ray/ CT scans without the need to move patients away from isolation wards. Continuous images are collected to monitor different lung regions, tracking the disease progression throughout the day/ week.
2) Quarantine/ Self-Isolation Lung Monitoring The device is a self-administered diagnostic screening tool where users can monitor their lungs at home without the help of medical personnel. In case of the medical system being overwhelmed, the device could serve as a backup modality for remote monitoring and diagnostic screening. This is potentially important given the world's limited capacity in manufacturing medical equipment and test kits.
3) Rehabilitation Lung Monitoring The device can also be purposed for self-administered recovery monitoring daily for recovered patients' rehabilitation. Research on COVID-19 patient recovery is still limited, with preliminary results suggesting a decrease in lung functionality for a proportion of recovered patients. Finding a cost-effective and self-administrable solution for data collection would be impactful to improve our understanding of recovery care.
How We built it
Our company has a small team of PhDs and researchers from Stanford, Cambridge, Hong Kong, and Grenoble with backgrounds in biomedical engineering, algorithm, circuit design, firmware engineering, and industrial engineering. We have developed our proprietary imaging technology over the past year and has successfully miniaturised the IoT device
With the realisation that COVID-19 would be a long battle that might take months or years to recover from, we have started repurposing our technology for lung monitoring that can be used in isolation for monitoring, recovery tracking, and potentially diagnostic screening.
Challenges We ran into
We have had slight delays with manufacturers, which is taking one to two weeks more to deliver our prototype devices for testing
Our manpower is limited to build up and rapidly scale a cloud-computing network that can support image reconstruction and disease progression tracking
We still have limited access to trial sites for extensive testing of the device
Accomplishments that We're proud of
Our award-winning company is supported by the Innovation and Technology Commission, and are partnering with university research labs in Hong Kong on various projects in medical diagnostics. Our device is scheduled to conduct clinical trials this year.
What's next for Lung imaging IoT for remote monitoring in isolation
We are working on getting the data and support to trial our device on patients and suspected cases, and are planning to build up a machine learning model that utilise this low cost and isolation-compatible modality for lung function monitoring, recovery tracking, and potentially