After losing a friend to a heart attack, a team of Dehradun Engineering graduates made an extremely-user friendly ECG device ‘Spandan’. This biomedical device can detect 21 heart ailments and can be used by practically anyone without any prior expertise.
The idea inspired by a personal life tragedy
In 2016, the sudden demise of a friend at the early age of 21 due to a heart attack shook Rajat Jain from Dehradun. He took time to ponder and understand that an early diagnosis of his heart conditions could have prevented this from happening.
Upon research, he discovered WHO’s recent reports saying that more than fifty people die every passing hour just due to heart attacks. The reasons being – lack of awareness among the people regarding the regular check-ups. In villages, people travel long distances to avail of primary healthcare facilities, and sometimes there is a non-availability of cardiac monitoring equipment. It led Rajat and his team to develop a device that would detect the heart’s anomalies at an early stage. They were very sure to make this device easily usable and portable.
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Research and development phase
Rajat Jain, an engineering graduate, joined hands with his friends Arpit Jain, Nitin Chandola, Saurabh Badola and Sabit Rawat to design a matchbox-sized portable ECG machine. The team developed the prototype in January 2017. The early version required a lot of iteration and optimization. The engineering graduates worked closely with top medical advisers to understand the intricacies of heart-related ailments better. They released their first commercial product called SPANDAN in December 2019.
About SPANDAN : The Portable ECG device
SPANDAN is an ECG machine weighing only 12 grams that can detect around 21 heart ailments including myocardial infarction (heart attack). ‘SPANDAN’ means heartbeat is a product of Sunfox Technologies, its parent company. The device comes with four separate pairs of electrode cables to reduce the possibility of an infection. It has an application of the same name available for both Android and IOS. The application itself guides how to use the device. It also has four language options. “The device and the application work on Edge-based AI technology which means no internet connectivity is required for the device to function. It is an example of frugal innovation as it does not contain any batteries or requires electricity to work” Rajat adds.
How to use it?
Rajat explains that the device is easy to use and works as a connector between the mobile phone and the heart. The person needs to connect the device with one cable to his phone and another cable that contains three electrodes to his chest. The device will do the reading automatically. The prognosis is displayed within minutes and gets autosaved in a separate folder on the phone. Reading the ECG is not something a common man can do. Hence, the device contains an AI-driven heart meter that converts them using algorithms and simplifies the reading into three colours. The colour code lets the person know about their heart’s condition. Green indicates that the vitals are stable. Yellow implies some abnormality is present and red means that the person should consult a doctor immediately.
Patients and doctors are using this device with the utmost ease. There are four different types of tests given on the mobile application which one can do to get a proper diagnosis i.e Primary Test, Advanced Test, Live Monitoring (works much like a bedside ECG), Heart Rate Variability Test.
A timely solution during the pandemic
Rajat says that the device became the need of the hour during the lockdown. He shares an anecdote of a patient from Chennai. The patient was unable to go to the hospitals when he had chest pains as they were packed. He used the device to diagnose his condition that saved him a trip to the hospital. After that, his doctors guided him to take the necessary measures to take care of himself. The story has been the same for many others, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. He estimates that the device has saved more than five hundred lives since its launch.
The hope of the Future
Rajat says his team is working towards making this device affordable for the less economically privileged. They are working on an upgrade that will drop the cost to one-fourth of its present one i.e. Rs 8000. The team is taking orders from the Sunfox Website and even Amazon. Startup India recognised SPANDAN and the team has represented India on many national and international platforms. Biomedical devices such as these can truly revolutionize medicine and solve the last mile connectivity issues for many.
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