The free web application uses AI-enhanced, non-contact measurement of your vital signs to help automate digital healthcare, said Phillip Alvelda, CEO of Emeryville, California-based Brainworks, in an interview with VentureBeat.
“Our goal is to make it a zero barrier to entry,” he said. We made it free to the general public and easily accessible on any device. And so we designed the backend to accommodate any kind of client.”
It uses your computer’s webcam or your smartphone camera to measure tiny movements in your face. From that, it can deduce your heart rate, breath rate, or oxygen level. At the moment, as I’m typing this, my heart rate is 49, my breath rate is 21, and my oxygen level is 99. I’m feeling pretty calm. I installed the web app on my desktop and logged into it. And I’m not wearing any medical devices at all. It’s a very passive state for getting measured for my vital signs.
Upon installation, you can perform a quick COVID-19 questionnaire. It asks you your temperature, your oxygenation (which can skip if you don’t have a pulse oximeter), and whether you have lost your sense of taste or smell. It asks if you have difficulty breathing, if you have a headache or difficulty thinking, if you have muscle aches or chills that cause prolonged shaking, or if you have abdominal troubles such as nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or loss of appetite.
“It works in a webpage so there’s nothing that would prevent you from just having it running in the background while you’re working on your PC,” said Alvelda. “Our goal is to have it be automatic and happening without you having to worry about it and always kind of monitoring and keeping track of your health in a preventive and predictive way, rather than reacting to a crisis.”
Then it measures your vitals and provides you with a risk assessment when it comes to having COVID-19. If you’ve got some symptoms, then it’s up to you to decide if you should go get a test.
“The goal was to launch with the three measures that were most important for figuring out what your state of health was and then have you fill out the questionnaire,” Alvelda said.
Alvelda has been working on the camera technology for a while, but the COVID-19 questionnaire is new, and it’s why the company has been working hard to get the web app into the market.
“It was just a little bit of a twisty path because our earlier plan was to sell things to hospitals and clinics and that was utterly disrupted in the February-March as COVID kicked up,” Alvelda said. “We had to completely redefine the product for the volume consumer market.”
Right now, I’m using it on a desktop and with Apple’s Safari browser on an iPhone. With Medio, you can now use a mobile phone, computer, or tablet cameras to automatically measure and track your vital signs in real time and answer specific CDC recommended screening questions related to COVID-19.
Specific, trackable symptoms related to COVID-19 detected through video-based ambient biometrics, including heart rate, respiration rate, and changes in skin tone related to blood oxygenation, are automatically measured by the cameras in iOS Safari-enabled mobile devices as well as other smartphones, tablets, and PCs.
You can use these measurements to decide whether to get more testing, medical care, or hospitalization. The health assessment tracker does not diagnose, but enables healthcare, first responders, food-chain, and other essential workers, as well as the general public, to run the questionnaire themselves as often as they like, even two-to-three times a day.
You can share records with a doctor. Later this quarter, patients recovering from COVID-19 can use Medio to help decide when they might be well enough to return to work, while minimizing risk of infecting others. Of course, it helps to have other tools like an oximeter and a good thermometer.
But Medio is the first step in Brainworks’ plan to have people monitor themselves without having to acquire a lot of medical testing equipment. If you have the coronavirus, you can use Medio to monitor your progress when it comes to changes in vitals.
AI sorts the data collected to assure the accuracy of the information gathered. The combination of the camera sensor and AI can detect and interpret minute changes in skin tone and movement. For example, when a heart beats, there is a pulse of change that happens in one’s body, and Medio detects that variation automatically. The AI tosses out measurements that don’t seem accurate and it gives you the numbers it believes are correct.
Through the site, users will also answer the CDC recommended screening questions, so they are able to make more confident decisions about whether they are safe to go to work or enter high traffic areas while minimizing the risk of infecting others with COVID-19.
When you deviate from a baseline, that’s when a doctor might start to worry and wonder if you’re becoming ill.
In the past, such an app might consume a lot of battery power. But Alvelda said that’s not really a problem any more.
Over time, Alvelda hopes to add premium features that consumers can pay for.
Alvelda started the company in August 2018. The company has about 15 people, including contractors.
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