BlueBridge Technologies, an Irish-connected-health-engineering company, has won a significant contract from the European Space Agency to design and build hand-held devices to monitor the spread of Covid-19.
The monitor, called Resper, will be similar to an asthma inhaler in appearance and will measure a user's lung function, breath temperature and saturated oxygen levels.
This data will then be shared via both mobile phone networks and the EU's Galileo satellite network so as to monitor the progress of the virus in real time.
As a certified medical device designer in a highly regulated market, BlueBridge, which was founded in 2006, has previously developed software and devices for some of the largest firms in the world including Medtronic, Novartis, Abbot and Boston Scientific.
Garret Coady, the company's founder and chief executive, said: "We are only too happy to be able to play a part in the fight against Covid-19. We hope that Resper will play an important role, not only in monitoring the spread of the virus in real time but in helping to manage the long-term effect that Covid-19 will have on some sufferers.
"Resper will be able to provide real-world information in real time to the experts advising on the key decisions in the battle to restrict the spread of Covid-19."
BlueBridge Technologies has partnered with Actuate technologies, an American firm, to commercialise the new technology when it becomes available.
The firm has already built a prototype device and expects commercial production to begin in early 2022. Some 500,000 Resper units are forecast to be sold in its first year.