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article imageBusiness incubator identifies novel heart health app

By Tim Sandle     Sep 17, 2017 in Science
Vienna - Researchers have designed a smart artificial intelligence tool that can diagnose heart problems using a smartphone camera. The end-product development and new start-up forms part of an initiative called START:IP.
The START:IP initiative is run by the INiTS university business incubator. The aim of START:IP is to identify commercially promising research results across Austrian universities. Once selected, the initiative offers the universities potential founders for the creation of innovative startups by linking business entrepreneurs with academics. This allows promising research applications to become concrete applications which can be commercialized and marketed.
To highlight how the process works, a new innovation using imaging technology embedded into a smartphone is to be launched on the market later in 2017. The app has been developed by the Heartshield project, the name for the start-up company. HeartShield developed a novel artificial intelligence platform that can ‘learn’ the signs of heart disease risk from patient data. This is a move on from legacy, statistic driven approaches towards data driven, machine intelligence.
The app works by the user placing their finger in front of the smartphone’s camera lens for 60 seconds while the app is running. The oxygen content of the blood is measured via transmitted light; this allows the heart rate to be calculated. The data is then processed through artificial intelligence algorithms. The program can assess blockages in the arteries.
Commenting on this initial pilot, the INiTS CEO Irene Fialka has told the website BioSpace: “The pilot phase was limited to just a few universities in Vienna but it immediately identified a large number of research results that were suitable for marketing in the context of a startup. And INiTS even managed to find founders for several of these projects during the pilot phase.”
There are several emerging business incubators targeting the university sector. These ventures support founders from the idea stage through to commercialization. This is a lucrative area; for example, Y-Combinator, a private incubator and accelerator founded in 2005, has produced companies worth a collective $7.78 billion dollars to date.
In addition to the Heartshield project, other developments within the pilot are the startup 23°, which is a comprehensive data warehouse that compiles demographic, social and economic data. Also in the pipeline is an "electronic tongue", which is a test to assess the bitterness of foodstuffs. Following the success of the pilot, START:IP will be extended to most of Vienna’s universities, a move supported by Vienna Business Agency’s Technology Awareness program.
More about University, business incubator, smartphone app, Heart health, healthtech
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