This startup by IIT alumni has come up with a contactless monitoring device to fight coronavirus
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the world, India is facing a new challenge, with reports suggesting a surge in the number of health workers infected or being exposed to the virus.
Amid demands of healthcare workers for better protection as they struggle to treat patients in crowded hospitals, remote health monitoring is the need of the hour, says Mudit Dandwate, CEO and Co-founder of Turtle Shell Technologies.
“Healthcare workers getting infected is the worst thing to happen because healthcare professionals are most required resource at this time, and if we lose them to infection, they cannot take care of people,” adds Mudit.
The Bengaluru-based startup claims Dozee, its contactless health monitor, can track heartbeat, respiration, sleep, and stress-recovery, with medical-grade 98.4 percent accuracy.
“It is the only device that gives continuous respiration data, that too without the need of wires or any technical expertise. All a user has to do is just sleep,” says Mudit.
The startup says it aims to provide precautionary measures to individuals as well as at the community level with its health device.
The health monitor, which costs Rs 7,500, uses Ballistocardiography as the underlying technology where a thin sensor sheet is placed below the mattress (any mattress up to 18 inch) of the user to capture the data on micro vibrations in the human body.
This data is further analysed using advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to create a health data of the user.
“The data is shown on a dashboard on a smartphone app, and anyone can set it up within two minutes,” says Mudit.
The company recently partnered with mattress brand Duroflex, where the Dozee team has been providing free devices to those quarantined within Bengaluru city limits. Mudit says, more than 200 devices have been distributed in the city already.
“The idea behind this activity is to proactively help those in need and at risk in this crucial hour, because respiratory ailments are one of the symptoms of the ongoing COVID19 pandemic,” says Mudit.
He adds that the device can help doctors remotely check on the patient's progress and flag off possible deteriorations well in advance.
“As our healthcare system and research labs work tirelessly towards finding a solution to this sudden outbreak, the team’s aim is to ease their burden and risk by providing a dependable and non-intrusive solution to monitor the vital signs. This will also help ease anxiety of loved ones as currently they have limited means to know the health status of those quarantined at home,” he says.
The startup is also working closely with NGOs, hotels, and hospitals to create step-down ICU set up using Dozee.
Dozee is the brainchild of IIT graduates Mudit and Gaurav Parchan, and was launched in mid-2019. Mudit and Gaurav love physics, biology, mechanics, and capturing data from the physical world. In fact, Mudit designed and raced cars, especially electric cars, with F1 speeds at Silverstone, and was also the Chief Vehicle Dynamics Officer at IIT-Mumbai.
The two met each other while working at Altair Engineering. Their love for engineering, hardware, and software led them to explore the healthcare sector in 2013. Realising that ECG monitors and blood pressure monitors work only in contact with the body, they wanted to come up with something better.
Their hypothesis was to challenge conventional wisdom, especially consumer healthtech, and provide accurate data. They found that most devices do not have the capability to record stress, heart activity, and sleep cycles with 99 percent accuracy. At best, they offered 75 percent accuracy.
The motto of Dozee came out of the fact that the duo wanted to develop a health monitoring system for humans using the same technology, which they used for monitoring the health of racing cars.
Mudit and Gaurav quit their jobs in October 2015 and plunged themselves into R&D to start creating contactless healthcare offerings.
Looking for capital
The company has till now been backed by reputed companies like Qualcomm and the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for product development and acceleration.
However, Mudit says, the startup needs external funding to the tune of Rs 1.5 crore to make about 10,000 more devices and supply them in the current situation.
Dozee team is currently building more features like adding body temperatures, amongst others, to give a more comprehensive picture to the clinicians remotely to know how stable their health is, and how are they doing.
The company is also looking to partner with people who are setting up isolation centres to help them in setting up contactless device in the quarantine centres, so that wardens can monitor patient’s health from a dashboard without risking their health.
“Our idea is to increase both supply and demand. Once demand increases, we will be able to increase the supply with adequate funding,” says Mudit.
(Edited by Megha Reddy)