4 May 2018
Computer World HK
Industry Profile: Belun brings AI to wearable healthcare device
Wearable fitness trackers like wristbands and smart watches are popular nowadays for people to monitor their fitness and health. Most of their basic features include step count, distance traveled, and heart rate tracking, to name a few.
A local homegrown startup Belun Technology, founded in 2016, has developed a FDA (Food and Drug Administration)-compliant medical-grade wearable device. Named Belun Ring, the device uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze sleep quality and also the risk of chronic diseases such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea. More than 15 patents have been filed for the product.
Belun Ring was conferred the Smart Living Grand Award and the Hardware & Devices Gold Award of the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2018. Belun Technology also took home the Award of the Year and ICT Startup Grand Award.
“There’re plenty of consumer-grade wearable trackers available in the market. We aim to offer a medical-grade product for preventive healthcare and chronic disease management,” said Lydia Leung (pictured, second from left), CEO of Belun Technology. “Our device is worn on a finger as a ring. We started to develop it in April 2016.”
CWHK: What have been the major challenges facing you as a startup?
Lydia Leung: As our product is a medical device, we need to go through a series of processes to get FDA approval such as building the ISO13485 quality management system, conducting & passing clinical trials. Limited resources and time is a major challenge for us.
CWHK: How unique is your product?
LL: Apart from basic features like monitoring heart rate, blood pressure, and body movement, Belun Ring also measures pulse oximetry. These data help diagnose the risk level of chronic diseases including sleep health, respiratory, psychiatry and cardiovascular diseases.
Individuals can use our product at home without the need to go to hospitals or sleep clinics to assess their health condition. Our product provides accurate measurements that meet FDA’s requirements, which may be obtainable by otherwise bulky, stationary and expensive machines installed in sleep clinics. Users can monitor their cardiovascular health at home conveniently and economically.
Furthermore, the data collected from our product is uploaded to our private cloud and is analyzed through AI.
CWHK: How much medical data is collected from Belun Ring every day? Can you elaborate the AI-based algorithm?
LL: We have collected millions of data since the launch of the product in mid 2017. We may not be able to disclose too many details of the algorithm. Basically, we collect the overnight heart rate, pulse oximetry and motion of the users to analyze the risk of having obstructive sleep apnea and overnight mental stress.
CWHK: Can you describe the delivery model of your product?
LL: We focus on the B2B market this year. Elderly homes, body-check centers, hospitals, and clinics are our target customers. Doctors or medical practitioners can log into our private cloud to access the health data of their patients for preventive healthcare and medical treatment.
We also partner with medical professionals in sleep medicine, psychiatry and cardiology from several medical schools worldwide.
Starting next year, we will introduce another model for the consumer market. A mobile app will be available with the ring.
CWHK: Where do you obtain your funds? Are you looking to expand your workforce and business in the next 12 months?
LL: We raised our funds from angel investors. We currently have 15 people covering R&D, intellectual property, marketing, finance and administration. We are going to expand our team to 25 people in the coming 12 months.