Empatica is not your typical smartwatch company, and it shows when looking at the characteristics of their products.
More than just healthcare smartwatches, the MIT spinoff develops real medical devices that collect physiological signals and rely on advanced AI algorithms for health monitoring.
Founded in 2011 by Rosalind Picard, Founder and Director of the Affective Computing Group at the MIT Media Lab, Matteo Lai, Simone Tognetti, and Maurizio Garbarino, three innovation and Artificial Intelligence specialists, the Boston’s based company has a lot of expertise under its belt.
Empatica offers fully integrated health monitoring platforms that can be used for clinical trials, help patients suffering from neurological diseases, or even detect respiratory diseases.
Their Aura System recently gained CE approval for early detection of respiratory infections such as H1N1 influenza, rhinovirus, or SARS-CoV-2 infection with 0.94 sensitivity.
EmbracePlus, the latest company’s smartwatch, may well change the way clinical trials and continuous health monitoring for patients with chronic conditions are being done.
A real game-changer that has already attracted the attention of NASA, who awarded the project a research grant for checking on the health of future astronauts during deep space exploration missions.
Do not expect to find the EmbracePlus in your nearby store, though. We are talking about accurate medical technology here and not wearable gadgets.
What is the technology behind EmbracePlus?
The EmbracePlus is an actual medical device and recently received a CE mark as a Class IIa Medical Device. It comes with powerful sensors, including Empatica’s proprietary PPG and EDA sensors, temperature sensors, accelerometer, and gyroscope, making it the world’s most potent and reliable medical smartwatch.
The EmbracePlus offers the possibility to record:
- Electrodermal Activity (galvanic responses) linked to the conduction levels of the skin. When sweating, the conduction of the skin will increase. This biomarker is informative of the function of the autonomic nervous system that controls stress levels and other autonomous functions such as heart rate and breathing pattern.
- Respiration, Peripheral temperature, Oxygen saturation
- Pulse Rate Monitor and Heart Rate Variability,
- Physiological stress, rest, steps, and activity.
Why is EmbracePlus a game-changer for continuous health monitoring and clinical research?
EmbracePlus for Clinical Research
Artificial Intelligence is already changing how clinical studies are designed and managed. Still, more than reducing patient heterogeneity, the acquisition of continuous physiological data is critical for assessing the efficacy and safety of new drugs.
Data is knowledge, and collecting relevant physiological information is one of the most important elements for the successful conduction of clinical trials. Especially when developing new drugs or treatments for neurological conditions, patients have to be closely monitored and stay compliant with the protocol.
Unfortunately, 89% of the participants will not correctly fill up their paper diary, which will lead to inconclusive results, increase on-site monitoring costs and contribute to the 30% dropout rate seen in clinical trials.
Wearing a watch with the ability to collect critical information on a new drug non-obstructively has the potential to provide the safest trials, identify potential side-effects, assess the efficacy, and ultimately deliver better drugs to the patients.
EmbracePlus for Patient Monitoring
For remote patient monitoring, EmbracePlus allows recording multiple data with high quality and high flexibility. In addition, data are collected securely on the FDA-cleared Embrace2 Cloud infrastructure.
The patient’s vitals are processed continuously without impairing daily life, which leads to better management of the disease and more effective treatments.
Empatica’s smartwatch has been thought of up to the smallest detail. For example, the EmbracePlus comes with a portable on-wrist charger that clips onto the e-ink screen. This charger is revolutionary as it allows to charge the watch without removing it, thus allowing truly continuous analyses.
The EmpatiCare Platform as a remote Health Control Center
Healthcare professionals can access the patients’ data through the EmpaticaCare Platform. Vital signs are instantly analyzed and processed. Thanks to the Artificial Intelligence algorithms developed by Empatica.
The Aura algorithm proved helpful in detecting early signs of Covid-19 infection developed in partnership with Stanford University, the NHS, and the US Army.
The vitals collected are transmitted to a HIPAA Compliant Cloud that will assess the risk of being infected and anonymously inform the wearer of an increased risk of being infected, ensuring early isolation and reducing the spread of the virus.
The EmbracePlus and E4 health smartwatches allowed collecting the needed information for early detection of the infection.
To Wrap Up
Empatica is a smartwatch company like no other. Their EmbracePlus is the prototype of what a Health watch should be.
It offers the possibility to monitor chronic patients. Still, its use for research and clinical trials opens new possibilities for identifying digital surrogate markers that may potentially change how drugs are assessed and how patients react to treatments.
By continuously monitoring vitals, the EmbracePlus can also be used for identifying respiratory diseases or other conditions. However, the potential of such a medical device is only limited by the imagination of the doctors and researchers and the underlying quality of the AI algorithms supporting the diagnostics.