Think Biosolution is an Irish-based wearable technology company that was co-founded by Dr. Shourjya Sanyal and Koushik Kumar Nundy in March 2016. Their first product, the QuasaR, can measure heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, and blood oxygen saturation more accurately than any other photodiode-based sensor technology available on the market. The company’s vision is to combine this technology with custom-built algorithms derived from artificial intelligence to help just about anyone to achieve their fitness goals and for patients suffering from chronic conditions to better manage their health and wellness.
Think Biosolution has won several awards, such as the Deloitte Top Technology award Dublin 2016 and Innovation of the Year Award at Irish Laboratory Awards 2017. The company also presented its technology at several events such as TEDx Tallaght in 2015, Future Health Summit in 2016, Health 2.0 Dublin 2016, Google ‘Adopt A Start-up’ Dublin 2016, and Photonics West in San Francisco earlier this year. Medgadget had the opportunity to interview the CEO and founder, Shourjya Sanyal, PhD, to find out more about Think Biosolution’s technology.
Rukmani Sridharan, Medgadget: Tell us about your background and how you came to where you are.
Shourjya Sanyal: Our journey began four years ago while during my PhD, Koushik and I came up with the QuasaR™ sensor technology. We were accepted into an early Sci-Tech programme with the National Digital Research Centre in Ireland, giving us valuable mentorship and incubation space to productize the technology. Since then, our focus has primarily been on iteratively building and testing functional prototypes of our sensor, and talking to customers as well as end users. We have also accelerated the prototyping and partnership process by building a strategic partnership with The Innovation Centre at the University of Nevada, Reno. Think Biosolution and nine other teams from USA have been selected to take part in the inaugural Luminate New York Accelerator from January-June 2018. This will allow us to build partnerships in both the east and west coast of USA in addition to our already existing EU/UK partnerships.
Medgadget: Can you briefly explain to our readers how the QuasaR technology works?
Shourjya Sanyal: While traditional sensors to measure peripheral blood flow and circulation use a photodiode as a sensor, our patent pending QuasaR™ sensor technology uses a camera. Instead of measuring variations of one particular wavelength, the QuasaR™ sensor picks up the average variations of colour. This key difference allows us to measure parameters like heart rate, and heart rate variability, respiratory rate and blood oxygen saturation more accurately than traditional photodiode based sensors. The QuasaR™ sensor is optimized to be placed on the chest, which will minimize movement artefacts compared to wristband-based sensors.
Medgadget: Who is your target audience?
Shourjya Sanyal: We have spoken to over 300 amateur and professional athletes and even fitness enthusiasts to conclude that the potential target market for QuasaR™ should be “people who want to achieve health and wellbeing by exercising smarter”. So our target audience is mainly runners and cyclists, who currently rely on wristband based activity trackers to count steps, or ECG based chest-straps/smart clothing to track their performance based only on heart rate. We have built partnerships with a wide range of real world users to build and test custom exercise programmes, including running and cycling clubs in Ireland and Nevada, to potential Olympians who want to try out our device.
Medgadget: Do you currently have any partnerships with apparel manufacturers? When do you expect the first QuasaR-embedded clothing line in the retail market?
Shourjya Sanyal: We are an Original Equipment Manufacturing business, which means that we build privately labelled internet-of-things devices using our QuasaR™ sensor technology for sports apparel brands, professional athlete monitoring platforms, and telemedicine platforms in both EU and USA. We are currently prototyping with three apparel manufacturers in UK/Ireland and have partnership deals with 6 more US companies. We anticipate at least 5 trials to launch by the end of 2018.
Medgadget: How accurate are your algorithms compared to traditional medical devices and do you expect QuasaR to act as an intervention for medical doctors in the future?
Shourjya Sanyal: Our focus for the next few years is mainly on athletes and cyclists. However, the long-term goal of the company is to help patients suffering from chronic diseases to manage their health and wellness. We are particularly interested in partnering with telemedicine platforms, which are currently struggling to find medical grade wearable sensors to help physicians remotely monitor their patients. Our long-term aim is to become the market leader in providing wearable health monitors for healthcare platforms, which include telemedicine, health monitoring for insurance purposes and also for in-patient monitoring in hospitals. We are working on algorithms that will not only help monitor health, but will also coach users to lead an active life to best suit their wellness goals.