Austin company pioneers way to monitor seniors' vital signs without physical contact

Austin company pioneers way to monitor seniors' vital signs without physical contact

Originally published by Austin Business Journal

Austin-based Advanced TeleSensors Inc. has partnered with a Houston company to provide a touchless medical monitoring device to help seniors particularly at risk during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The partnership with Galen Data Inc., which specializes in medical-device software and has created a cloud platform compliant with Food and Drug Administration standards, enables Advanced TeleSensors to more swiftly bring its touchless monitors to market.

The touchless monitoring device measures vital signs such as heart rate and heart-rate variability, which indicates a person’s stress level, Advanced TeleSensors President and CEO Sajol Ghoshal said in an email. Temperature and other vital signs will be added to the device’s capabilities, he said.

“We’re in pilot mode doing real-world testing at The Bridges at Mission — an assisted living community with two campuses located in Mission and Edinburg, Texas,” he said. “We are in engagements to deploy enterprise systems starting this fall.”

The company's Cardi/o device uses radio frequency processing to continuously monitor vital signs without needing to physical contact.

The company so far has manufactured hundreds of the devices and aims to deploy thousands of them next year, Ghoshal said. The company is not yet generating revenue.

Advanced TeleSensors has five full-time employees and five contractors working in Central Texas, Ghoshal said. The company is hiring and has been conducting interviews for an additional engineer.

Being able to measure vital signs without contact, especially for high-risk people like those in assisted-living facilities, has become critical since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Tens of thousands of residents and workers at long-term care facilities already have succumbed to the Covid-19 virus. Isolated seniors also have become increasingly at risk due to the pandemic.

Both companies have NASA roots. Advanced TeleSensors co-founders Paolo Focardi and Steven Monacos launched their company in 2008 and developed its core technology while at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

Abbas Dhilawala, Alex Condon and Chris DuPont founded Galen Data in 2016 and met while working at a NASA software contractor. The company raised a $1 million seed round in the fall, Houston Business Journal reported.

Advanced TeleSensors moved its headquarters from California to Austin in 2018 after closing a $2 million series A funding round that was led by Plano-based KLDC Partners LP.

Advanced TeleSensors is now raising a $1.5 million round of convertible debt financing, with about $200,000 to go, Ghosal said. The money will be "used to ramp sales and capital costs associated with delivering our application to clients, such as producing the monitors," he said.

Advanced TeleSensors initially had invested time and resources into developing its own software and cloud system, but Galen Data’s product eliminated the need to continue down that road, Ghoshal said.

“We wish we had found Galen Data sooner,” he said in a statement. “Getting up-and-running with them was very easy, and it allowed us to focus on our core competency — which is data-signal processing.”

Advanced TeleSensors' competitors include CarePredict, ADT and CaptionCall, according to the Argentum Senior Living Supplier Directory.

But Ghoshal said Advanced TeleSensors differentiates itself by providing continuous heart monitoring to seniors who have cardiac conditions, “but who don’t use wearables.”

He said that “three out of four seniors in [the] U.S. have heart disease and/or conditions related to cardiovascular disease, yet less than 5% use wearables. This leaves 95% of this demographic, or at least 48 million people over 65 years that are not being served by wearable health-tech today.”

The president and CEO sees the pandemic as “a two-edged sword for us: It necessitates our non-contact solution. However, we will have to manage the risks like everyone else when it comes to conducting business.”

Ghoshal said an acquisition or entering the public markets is Advanced TeleSensors’ likely exit.