According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) cause more deaths than all cancers, HIV and malaria combined; 17.5 million people die each year from CVDs, this represents 31% of all deaths globally. This is even more detrimental for women, because 1 in every 3 women in the United States suffer from CVDs. These ailments could be prevented if detected sooner, in order to be monitored and acted upon to optimize health.
Research of technology to make day-to-day clothes intelligent in order to prevent several diseases is in current development. At Bloomer Tech, we are contributing to this research by creating a non-invasive method to monitor cardiac and respiratory health parameters through the use of flexible circuits resistant to water with sensors located inside a brassiere. The information captured by these circuits can be used to determine abnormalities in heart rhythm, size of the heart chambers or damage to the heart muscle, associated with CVDs. This research has being performed with contribution from the Camera Culture Group of MIT Media Lab, which designs and develops sensing systems for health diagnostics, and the Group of Innovation Technologies of Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), which develops robotic platforms such as drones, submarines, rovers and humanoids.
Our Co-founder and MIT Graduate Student, Alicia Chong, together with the Camera Culture Group Principal Investigator Dr. Pratik Shah, and our Co-founder and PUCP Researcher Mónica Abarca, together with the Group of Innovation Technologies and Director and M.Sc. Francisco Cuéllar, applied in 2015 to the MISTI MIT Peru Seed Fund, and won the fund for this research project as a collaborative work between Bloomer Tech and the involved universities from USA and Peru.
In April 2016, the MIT team (Alicia and Pratik) visited PUCP in Lima, Peru for the start of the project. They gave talks to PUCP students and faculty about the Camera Culture Group and Bloomer Tech. They also performed a design thinking workshop called “Solutions for Cardiac Patients” with engineers, designers and medical doctors to brainstorm and prototype solutions for people that suffer from CVDs.
In May 2016, the PUCP team visited MIT, during that visit Alicia and Mónica designed the most recent prototype of the circuit for cardiac health monitoring, which has recently been manufactured and is currently in engineering testing.
We highly appreciate this opportunity, opened by MISTI MIT Peru Seed Fund to truly establish collaboration between our two co-founders and this world universities, opening opportunities for exploring the needs of patients with diverse backgrounds and the knowledge and perspective of students, faculty, doctors and researchers on the development of our product. We are truly engaged to create #powertowear.