Concept: US-based respiratory healthcare tech startup Respira Labs has launched an AI-powered wearable lung monitor called Sylvee that uses acoustic resonance to assess lung function and detect lung air volume variations. It can help with the early diagnosis and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and COVID-19. The patch has speakers and microphones implanted in it that measure variations in acoustic resonance as a reference for changes in lung air volume for pulmonary function testing.
Nature of Disruption: Patients can wear Sylvee device on the lower part of their rib cage to monitor lung function over time and provide a complete overview of their health. It works by injecting noise into the lungs and then measuring the type of sound that emerges. If there is air trapped in the lung, the sound it generates differs from the resonance of sound created when air is completely released from the lungs, similar to a thud on a drum. The key and early indication of respiratory deterioration in air trapping. The Sylvee app analyses the results using DSP (digital signal processing) and AI, which pulmonologists and primary care physicians can assess, focusing on lung volume, capacity, flow rates, and trapped air. The sensor on the patch transmits an indication of trapped lung air, signaling malfunction to a smartphone. The noises are then converted into an acoustic resonance characteristic by an algorithm. For two weeks, it continuously measures users’ pulmonary volumes, respiratory and heart rates, trapped air, temperature, and breathing noises to provide actionable insights on how they would improve their day-to-day respiratory health. By detecting irregularities early, it allows patients to control their health at home and avoid hospitalization.
Outlook: COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and COVID-19 were the third and fourth global causes of death during the peak of the pandemic, respectively, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Asthma is the most frequent chronic condition among children, according to the World Health Organization. Sylvee has the potential to enhance the lives of millions of individuals worldwide who suffer from lung disease. Patients are not required to blow into anything, and it can accurately measure trapped air using audible sound. This medical-grade respiratory health wearable delivers continuous monitoring for two weeks. In February 2022, Respira Labs raised $2.8M to continue growing and advancing its product development. It has received an additional $1.8M in grants from Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Institutes for Health after raising $1M in pre-seed finance headed by Zentynel Frontier Investments (NIH). The startup was selected to participate in the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) accelerator program sponsored by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).