The technology of fighting the flab

As we finally see an end to the long winter, many of us are setting our sights on getting fit for summer.

The technology of fighting the flab

By Ruth Doris

As we finally see an end to the long winter, many of us are setting our sights on getting fit for summer.

With 59% of Irish people making fitness their top priority for 2018, according to a recent survey for Lloyds Pharmacy, tech wearables are making it easier to track your fitness levels.

Irish-based start-up Think Biosolution's product QuasaR will offer an alternative to step-counting wristband trackers, allowing runners to optimise their workouts and build their endurance.

Founders Shourjya Sanyal and Koushik Kumar Nundy spent nearly five years researching the idea of a health monitoring device which uses a camera as a sensor instead of a photodiode.

The QuasaR device, which is designed to be placed in a chest strap or embedded in sports apparel, measures parameters including heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate and blood oxygen saturation to medical grade accuracy.

Combining the data with the runner’s speed, the device’s artificial intelligence-enabled voice feedback system can recommend actions to the user to achieve their optimal running intensity and duration.

Mr Sanyal, who completed his PhD at UCD’s School of Physics, and Mr Nundy, an electronics engineer, worked on recreating and building the technology before setting up Think Biosolution in March 2016.

QuasaR is being developed for three markets: professional athlete monitoring companies, healthcare platforms and smart apparel brands.

The hardware is the same for each client while the software is tailored to their individual needs.

Professional athlete monitoring companies are using the product to replace their old GPS trackers, while healthcare companies are looking at the medical grade accurate data to track their patients’ results in real time.

For smart apparel companies, the device works as a personalised sports coach.

“If you go out for a run it can tell you at what speed you should run to build cardiac and respiratory and aerobic endurance over time,” said Mr Sanyal.

The company is focused on the B2B sector, and doesn’t have plans to sell directly to customers. QuasaR’s core technology allows for personalised coaching routines.

The device’s AI-enabled feedback system can make suggestions to the wearer on their exercise routine, telling the user if he or she should run faster or slower or stop.

Think BioSolution is currently trying to raise $300,000 in seed funding, having already received $200,000 in funding to date.

The company is conducting design validation testing this year and plans to convert to trial by the end of 2018, aiming for 20,000 units and $3m in sales.

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