Last week we attended HIMSS a leading tech health conference in Orlando Florida. The tech conference was packed with 50,000 attendees. Amazingly enough, 95% of the attendees were not wearing a mask so there was a feeling of optimism at the show. We had a chance to talk to many vendors and exhibitors especially the ones specialized in wearables, and advanced sensors. In the following section we will go through the best wearables and performance tech that we saw at the show.
But before we do that we had the opportunity to listen to Michael Phelps’ keynote. Michael Phelps is an American former competitive swimmer. He is the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time with a total of 28 medals. Phelps also holds the all-time records for Olympic gold medals, Olympic gold medals in individual events, and Olympic medals in individual events. When Phelps won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, he broke fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz‘s 1972 record of seven first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games.
Pictures: Michael Phelps’ keynote, HIMSS 2022
His talk was very inspiring. He talked about his struggle with mental health over the years, his foundation and the great work that he is doing for the community and those who struggle with mental health. Phelps is a leader who has used his fame and status as the greatest swimmer of all time to challenge our society to remove stigma surrounding mental health.
Phelps took the example that many time when he gets asked a simple question such as “How are you?”. In his mind Fine means “Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional”.
One of Phelps’ other key points was about the importance of writing down our goals so that we can start believing in them.
Phelps explains: “You need to write down your goals and look at them every day so you can start believing in them”.
Here are some of the best wearables and performance tech that we saw at HIMSS 2022 this year.
HQ: Yehud, HaMerkaz (Israel)
Amount of money raised: $188M
Company background: With applications in the automotive, smart home, robotics, retail, RF testing and medical sectors, Vayyar’s intelligent sensors can see through walls and objects, tracking movement in real time in all environmental conditions. Its Radar-on-Chip covers imaging and radar bands from 3-81 GHz, with up to 72 transceivers on each chip and an integrated high-performance DSP delivering unprecedented levels of accuracy and generating high-resolution 4D point cloud images. Vayyar is developing the next generation of sensing technology that is miniature, affordable and versatile enough to impact everyone’s lives.
Pictures: Vayyar mounted radar (left), Vayyar’s app integrated with Amazon Alexa (right).
Product description: Vayyar built a mounted device embedded with a tiny radar that can track matrix such as sleep duration, respiration rate, HR and falls. It is worth pointing out that their respiratory and HR measuring feature are still work in progress. Vayyar Care app can also be connected to Amazon Alexa which can call emerging contacts (e,g, family, 911..) in case on emergency. Based on our conversation with them, Vayyar has sold between 10,000 and 20,000 units targeting the healthcare sector.
Price: $249 per unit.
Video: Vayyar’s radar that tracks sleep duration, HR, deep & light sleep, falls, and more.
⬆️ The Upside: We believe that the Vayyar contactless biosensor is interesting for pro teams. Why? Because some athletes do not like to wear anything whether it is a smart patch, smart patch. With Vayyar you can put the sensor on a wall, set it and forget it. This is might be relevant for players that are going through rehab and are staying home and are not traveling with the teams. By using such device, a head of rehab can track the player vitals (sleep quality. HR, etc..) remotely and take the proper measures to further help the athletes through the rehab process. However, this is not practical for an athlete who is traveling with the squad (hotel…).
HQ: Petah Tiqva, HaMerkaz (Israel)
Amount of money raised: $8M
Company background: Biobeat develops a wearable device for continuous, noninvasive, accurate, medical-grade monitoring of vital signs that include blood pressure, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, heart rate, consciousness, cardiac output, stroke volume, body temperature, steps, and sweat. Its wearable device automatically uploads the recorded data to a smartphone-based application and to the cloud, where the application can monitor it remotely. Caretakers can intervene if needed, and users can receive alerts directly from the app. This provides caretakers with an important tool to assist in disease management and optimize clinical outcomes. The Biobeat system also facilitates remote monitoring of patients with a variety of medical issues. Ultimately, this solution allows patients to be treated in their homes. It can monitor stationary patients as well as those who perform outdoor activities.
In 2018, Biobeat received FDA 510K clearance (K181006) for its monitoring system and partnered with DRIVe, a division of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, to develop a wearable monitoring device that diagnoses the flu and infections before any symptoms appear. In August 2019, Biobeat received 510K FDA clearance for its patch and watch.
Product description: The BioBeat smart watch and smart patch track in real time data such as HRV, Blood pressure changes, SPO2, body temperature. These devices are FDA approved to measure HR, SPO2 and blood pressure changes. Both devices have a battery life of 5 days. It is worth pointing out that the smart patch is a “single use” smart patch meaning that it can only be used once.
Pictures: BioBeat smart patch, smartwatches, dashboard.
Prices: Smart patch: $100 per unit. Smart watch: $1000 per unit. Users have to pay an additional $10 per month per device to use those devices. Users have to prepay (1 month – 6 months) to be able to buy the device as well. A $7000 demo kit is also available for demo purposes. According to the company execs, so far those devices have been used by 100,000 users across 20 countries (US, Italy, Australia..).
Video: BioBeat’s smart patch.
⬆️ The Upside: Although we like the BioBeat smart patch and smart watch we find those devices quite expensive. We just don’t see most teams buying a single use smart patch for $100 and a smartwatch for $1000. In addition, it is worth pointing out that those devices do not measure the absolute blood pressure but the blood pressure changes. What users are looking for is being able to use a wearable (patch, smart watch) capable of measuring the absolute blood pressure. But we think that this is a step in the right direction.
HQ: Caesarea, Hefa (Israel)
Amount of money raised: $17.7M
Company background & product description: CardiacSense is an innovative start-up that provides affordable, comfortable FDA & CE certified Medical Watches and Wristbands capable of continuous, long term, ambulatory and non-invasive monitoring of life critical functions including Heart Rate, Pulse Rate, Respiratory Rate, Core
Temperature, Oxygen Saturation and Blood Pressure. These capabilities enable accurate real time diagnostics of medical conditions such as Heart Arrhythmias (incl. Atrial Fibrillation), Hypertension, COPD, Heart Failure, Sleep Apnea and infections (such as COVID-19).
Picture: CardiaSense smartwatch
Prices: $1000 per smart watch. Plus $15 per month per user. According to the company execs, 1000 CardiacSense smart watches have been shipped since the launch a week ago.
Video: CardiaSense smartwatch
⬆️ The Upside: Similar to the BioBeat smartwatch we believe that $1000 is out of reach for most teams. However, we like the fact that their smartwatch can measure data such as sleep apnea, Afib, hypertension, and infections (COVID-19). It can help detect high blood pressure. it is also worth pointing out that they are in the process of getting FDA approval.
HQ: Irvine, California (USA)
Amount of money raised: Public company
Company background: Masimo Corporation, a medical technology company, develops, manufactures, and markets noninvasive patient monitoring products. It provides a patient monitoring solution that incorporates a monitor or circuit board and sensors, including both proprietary single-patient use and reusable sensors and cables. The company also offers Masimo Signal Extraction Technology, which provides the capabilities of measure-through motion and low perfusion pulse oximetry to address the primary limitations of conventional pulse oximetry. In addition, it provides remote-alarm/monitoring solutions and software. The company sells its products to end-users through direct sales force and distributors, as well as to original equipment manufacturers and partners to incorporate into their products. Masimo Corporation was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Irvine, California.
Product description: Masimo’s smart patch (as shown below) can measure ECG, core body temperature, respiration rate, as well as the patient’s position. According to Masimo executives, it is pending FDA approval in US. In the meantime the smart patch is already CE marked in Europe. Masimo’s pulse oximetry device (as shown below) tracks blood pressure non invasively and has an associated dashboard to visualize the data.
Picture: Masimo’s pulse oximetry device (left) and smart patch (right)
Price: Smart patch (TBD)
⬆️ The Upside: We like Masimo’s smart patch. The fact that the smart patch can measure ECG, core body temperature, respiration rate, as well as the patient’s position, could be very compelling to pro teams, especially for players going through the rehab process. It would allow coaches, and the medical staff to remotely monitor the health of the player as he/she is going through the rehab process.
HQ: Rechovot (Israel)
Amount of money raised: TBD
Company background and product description: TechnoPulm introduces a disruptive diagnostic tool for Pulmonary-Function Testing (PFT) in patients suffering from respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, covid related ailments and others. TechnoPulm is the only company that has systems that allows all lung function diagnostic tests to be performed from the doctor’s office and the patient’s home by using a small handheld device connected to a comprehensive tool to enable a remote healthcare solution. TechnoPulm enables patients to interact with their physician from anywhere at any time.
Price: $2000-$5000 per unit.
⬆️ The Upside: TechnoPulm claims that they managed to create a single device that combines various technologies from various devices which would normally costs up to $40,000. Although we find TechnoPulm’s Spirometer to be fairly advanced in terms of capabilities and we like the “all into one” approach for a lower price, we believe that most pro teams will not spend $2000-$5000 on a device like this. Why? Because there are already spirometers for Sports in the $400-$2000 range out there. It is also worth pointing out that they are in the process of getting FDA approval.
Bottom line: Overall we felt that the health tech and wearable industry is moving forward despite the fact that we are still in the middle of a global pandemic. We are now seeing a new wave of wearables (smart patches, smart watches..) with more advanced biosensing capabilities (BP changes, CBT..) which is great news for the sports tech industry. We expect to see some pro teams adopting some of these advanced wearables in order to improve the rehab process and better monitor athletes. However many of these wearables remain expensive as they are made for patients in hospitals. That being said we expect the price of those devices to come down over time which will help drive higher adoption in the world of elite sports in the long run.