Firms behind 'smart heart' monitoring technology secure millions in funding
Two companies at the forefront of new smart heart monitoring technology have secured millions of euro in backing as once futuristic biosensors are set to go mainstream.
Belfast based B-Secur has raised €4.6m to develop technology that can identify individuals using only their heartbeat - including a unique 'key' to recognise individual's electrical pulse through their hands and clothes.
According to the company's CEO, Alan Foreman, it will allow people who have been ill or are at risk to live more independently while they are monitored to hospital standards.
The technology also has the potential to be especially useful in helping to combat road traffic accident fatalities.
"On our roads 25pc of deaths are caused by driver fatigue, and we have the ability to detect driver fatigue before it actually affects the driving ability of the driver, and we can therefore save lives," Mr Foreman said.
The company has secured €4.6m in its latest funding round from backers including Cork-based venture capital firm Kernal Capital, which manages funds for Bank of Ireland.
The funds will be used to further develop the Heartkey technology to meet regulatory standards, and to ramp up its commercial team.
Meanwhile, in Cork, more than €4m is being invested in a digital health project to develop a potentially lifesaving smart cardiac monitoring patch called 'SmartVista'.
The idea behind SmartVista is to develop a wearable biosensor that delivers a feed of patient data, particularly heart rhythm (electrocardiograph), respiration, temperature and oxygen flow information.
Tyndall CEO Professor William Scanlon said such technology is a game changer in terms of digital health. "Powered by body heat, the SmartVista patch will enable patients to live normal lives away from hospital or clinical environments, and yet be fully monitored in real time.
"The societal impact in terms of waiting times, hospital infrastructure and patient comfort and care is very significant."
The Tyndall National Institute, which is linked to University College Cork, will work with international partners to develop the wearable biosensor. Funding for SmartVista has been provided through the EU Horizon 2018-2020 ICT programme.