In line with international health care trends that place ever more emphasis on prevention and put the responsibility for their health in people’s hands, a Hungarian health startup has created a wearable ECG device.
Currently only aimed at recreational users and non-elite athletes, the HeartBit solution, (patent pending), indicates the health level of users’ heart muscle through real-time monitoring, recording and analyzing of ECG signals.
On demand, it also gives them a personalized training program adjusted to their heart muscle condition, in order to avoid over stressing the heart during most physical activities.
The devices currently available on the market will tell you how far to run in order to lose weight or reach a certain fitness level, says György Kozmann, CEO. Yet this is the wrong approach, he says. During physical activities, the devices should take real time body surface data (real ECG, not just heart rate) to be able to avoid the chances of ischemic heart failure. The risk is higher if you are unhealthy from a cardiovascular viewpoint, and in this case, you have to do your workout with such a sensitive device as the HeartBit in order to get real time feedback from the system on when to stop the activity.
The HeartBit team, which is made up of former university classmates (physicists, developers, and engineers) worked out a solution that uses the collected data smartly. At the heart of the innovation (if you will pardon the pun) is the algorithm, a self-learning version of which detects and provides a warning about the stress level of your heart (during rest, stress, and recovery states). Real-time data assessment also detects arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation and potential anomalies during activity.
The HeartBit is not the first invention by Kozmann and his team; they have also created a prototype called WIWE, a small credit card-sized, non-exercise ECG measurement device intended for home use. They relied heavily on the research of Kozmann’s father, Professor Dr. György Kozmann, who devoted much of his time to studying points on the surface of the body that are able to provide information on the cardiovascular state of a person.
“HeartBit is like an ECG-exam done in a hospital which we brought out of the lab conditions and use it during physical workout,” Kozmann explained. They have developed a fully operational prototype of the HeartBit which is undergoing clinical trials. This time around, Kozmann and his team plan to roll out the product themselves; that was not the case with WIWE, the technology for which they sold to a strategic investor in Europe in 2014.
Exactly how much they received Kozmann will not reveal, but it was far more than HUF 100 million plus royalties in the next five years, Kozmann says. That has been used to finance the development of the basic HeartBit model.
The team has recently closed the third round of investment. By the fourth round, they hope to have HUF 1 billion and a validated product in Hungary and the United States. Production will take place in Hungary; Kozmann says there are manufacturers that are able to produce at large enough scale. Nevertheless, the product has to be validated abroad to gain recognition on the global markets. The rollout on the Hungarian market is planned for this December.