Read the original article at SOSCIP.org
Researchers: Prof. Plinio Morita, Yevgeniy Davletshin (Post-Doctoral Fellow)
Institution: University of Waterloo
Industry Partner: Studio 1 Labs
Supported by: FedDev Ontario, IBM Canada Ltd. SOSCIP, Ontario Centres of Excellence
Focus Areas: Health, Digital Media, Advanced Manufacturing
Platforms: Agile, Cloud, GPU
Studio 1 Labs have accomplished in two years what it typically takes most start-ups at least three to five.
The team, which is based in Toronto, have developed an intelligent bedsheet that looks and feels like the real thing but is much less invasive than traditional medical devices. The bedsheet monitor comprises unique fabric sensors to collect valuable data such as heart rate, respiration and movement.
“We wanted to seamlessly integrate technology without interfering with its functionality because most people don’t enjoy wearing devices,” explained Olivia Lin, Co-Founder and CEO. “Our team took the time to understand on a human level how to bring technology into our every day world without [the technology] interfering with the important work carried out by doctors and healthcare practitioners.”
In their collaborative SOSCIP R&D project with Prof. Plinio Morita from the University of Waterloo, health data is streamed via cloud to the patient’s doctor and will be used to develop models to detect sleep apnea. It could be used to monitor and predict other potential health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. Prof. Morita and SOSCIP Post-Doctoral Fellow Yevgeniy Davletshin have spent the past eight months validating machine learning models during their clinical trials to predict sleep apnea events.
The idea for a non-invasive medical device that can both monitor and predict health conditions stems from its co-founders, Olivia Lin and Edward Shim (Managing Director).
Lin developed an interest in the functionality of textiles and smart fabric technology after she achieved her PhD in Cognitive Psychology. Shim spent two months in hospital with a chest injury and found it challenging to return to full health. Both realized there was a gap in comfortable and non-invasive technologies that could monitor, predict and possibly reverse potential health conditions.
With little background or technical skills in big data or computing, both Lin and Shim invested a lot of time understanding sensor technology.
“We learned everything on the spot,” explains Lin. “We needed to understand the hardware and how sensors work. Everything from coding to the functionality of sensors and advanced analytics were all technical skills we needed to quickly learn and adapt.”
“Studio 1 Lab’s technology will potentially be a game-changing solution for remote patient monitoring (RPM),” said Prof. Morita, assistant professor with the School of Public Health and Health Systems. “At the moment, most RPM technologies that are available in the markets for monitoring respiratory and heart rate require the use of a wearable sensor, which can be a nuisance to sleep.Studio 1 Labs turned to SOSCIP to help deliver the strong computational power needed to facilitate the project. The amount of data collected per person per day is very large. Access to SOSCIP’s Agile Platform enables the team to filter raw data and achieve real-time streaming to the cloud. Through the SOSCIP TalentEdge Program, they were able to hire a talented expert in machine learning and deep learning, Yevgeniy Davletshin, to advance the project with advanced computing.
“Through this innovative zero-effort technology, we hope to change the landscape and enable clinicians to monitor their patients without the need for bracelets or sensors attached to their patients’ body,” added Prof. Plinio.
“SOSCIP was crucial in providing the data and computing infrastructure for our company to achieve clinical value and scientific value with ‘smart’ capability,” explains Shim. “With the help of our partners we were able to build a validated medical device within an accelerated timeline.”