Wearable biometrics to power health studies and astronaut monitoring
Wearables for tracking health biometrics are being developed through new partnerships by B-Secur and BioIntellisense, while Biostrap’s technology is being deployed for a long-term research project on COVID-19. Carré Technologies smart shirts are being worn by a crew on the International Space Station and Nextiles is also opening up its smart clothing technology to developers with an SDK launch.
B-Secur partners with Texas Instruments
B-Secur has launched a solution to accelerate the integration of heartbeat biometrics into next-generation consumer wearables in collaboration with Texas Instruments.
The electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) solution is based on Texas Instruments’ AFE4950 analog front end for photoplethysmography (PPG) and ECG sensing. The integration allows B-Secur’s HeartKey to be implemented in wearable devices, including smartwatches and optical heart rate monitors connected to Wi-Fi, enabling identification features, wellness and health monitoring in IoT devices, according to the announcement. B-Secur says it is the first fully integrated ECG and PPG signal chain that allows for synchronous cardiac activity sampling with dry electrodes and battery-operated products.
Device manufacturers and partners can use the HeartKey and AFE4950 combination to skip months of research and development, the partners say.
“It is a key strategic development for B-Secur to announce this integration with Texas Instruments and our FDA-cleared HeartKey software today,” comments B-Secur Chief Commercial Officer Ben Carter. “As more and more wearable and IoT devices adopt ECG/EKG technology, supplying a fully integrated, high-performance solution with Texas Instruments means our customers around the world can bring their own consumer wearable products to market quicker and with greater confidence.”
B-Secur’s HeartKey biometric algorithms were approved by the U.S. FDA earlier this year.
Biostrap to be deployed for long-term COVID-19 study
The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities has selected Biostrap devices to monitor the biometric health data of people for a study on the long-term effects of COVID-19.
The study will track 550 volunteers, collecting and analyzing biometric health data such as heart rate, heart rate variability, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate and arterial compliance properties. The hope is that this data will help reveal why some people experience COVID-19 symptoms for longer than others.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention stats show COVID-19 has disproportionately affected certain demographic groups, such as non-Hispanic native Americans and Alaskans, according to the announcement.
“By collecting biometric data over a longer period of time with a clinical-grade biometric sensor, scientists can gather valuable insights about the subsequent course of COVID-19 in a scalable and non-interfering manner and can provide future assistance where it is truly needed in an inclusive manner,” Biostrap Chief Medical Officer Dr. Willem Gielen says.
A primary outcome measurement set will be collected up until January 31, 2022, with the study’s completion estimated for April 1, 2025.
BioIntellisense partners on continuous care monitoring solution
Enterprise medical data platform provider AirStrip has integrated BioIntellisense’s FDA-cleared BioSticker and medical grade BioButton to provide biometric health data for continuous care from in-hospital to home.
The AirStrip ONE platform provides medical data interoperability, analytics and mobile visualization. Combined with frequently-captured data from BioIntellisense, the partners believe this can enable clinical decision-making and proactive interventions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic crisis exposed the hospital’s clinical staffing and data deficiencies accelerating the need for new advanced virtual acute care delivery models capable of supporting clinical staff augmentation, staff collaboration and staff protection for those clinicians that can provide care at a distance,” states Alan Portela, CEO of AirStrip. “Lessons learned in High Acuity inpatient care setting will now need to be applied for virtual care beyond hospital wall as tele-health incentives are emerging with the goal of providing acute level of care at home.”
Portela also says the partners can “build the next generation of Smart Home virtual acute care model.”
Smart shirts for biometric monitoring?
The promise of home health monitoring enabled by artificial intelligence was part of the motivation behind the founding of Carré Technologies Inc., before astronauts began wearing them.
The Globe and Mail reports that the HexoSkin and AstroSkin shirts collect a range of biometrics, and the latter is worn by crew aboard the International Space Station. The former collects heartrate and respiratory biometrics, while the latter collects more data and is designed for longer-term use.
The Montreal-based Carré Technologies now employs 30 people, and while its wearables are mostly used for research within the medical community, the company counts the U.S. Navy medicine corps, the Australian Army, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Space Agency and NASA among its clients.
A new version of Hexoskin is currently under review by the FDA.
“Smart fabric” startup Nextiles has launched a software development kit (SDK) to enable biometric data from its garments manufactured with printed circuit boards to be integrated with existing applications through its software platform.
The SDK allows applications to take advantage of Nextiles’ human movement analytics to build custom algorithms and collect metrics specific to a given use case, according to the announcement. Nextiles is also creating biometric fabric sensors for heart rate monitoring and chemical analysis of sweat to help create a holistic data schema for clients in various industries.
“Instead of taking a one-app fits all approach, Nextiles is focused on building the most comprehensive data capture platform for human movement,” says George Sun, founder and CEO of Nextiles. “To do that, we needed to build this SDK, enabling software developers from any company to access our platform through industry-standard APIs. We’ve spent years optimizing the material science to build our soft goods offering through our patent-protected sewing technology; now, any software developer will be able to access our data analytics with this SDK.”