ResGuard Med, a mobile application developed by the Swiss start-up Resmonics, turns a patient’s smartphone into a respiratory disease monitoring system to protect patients from life-threatening asthma attacks.
Zurich-based Resmonics builds on five years of deep learning and respiratory medicine research by its two founders, Dr Peter Tinschert and Dr Iris Shih, at the CSS Health Lab, a joint collaboration of ETH Zurich, the University St Gallen and CSS Insurance.
Their smartphone app ResGuard Med is the first certified early-warning system of its kind. It helps patients with chronic respiratory disease to manage their condition using clinically validated biomarkers. Patients place their smartphone in their bedroom when they go to sleep, and the Resmonics software monitors the respiratory symptoms at night: thanks to an AI-based mobile sensing pipeline the system warns patients about potentially life-threatening disease deteriorations such as asthma attacks. For example, it detects nocturnal coughing using the smartphone’s built-in microphone and thereby estimates the risk that the disease will worsen.
The application closes an important gap in the treatment of chronic respiratory diseases: a disease monitoring tool that is truly compatible with everyday life.
Joining the Swiss National Startup Team
Resmonics is one of ten start-ups chosen to represent Switzerland as a Swiss national start-up team for the Mobile World Congress 2021 in Barcelona, which took place just a week ago. It is the most recent success of the young company since its incorporation in October 2020. The young researchers had already secured pre-seed investment from CSS and a venture capital investment of CHF 150,000 from the philanthropic initiative Venture Kick.
Resmonics plans to enter the Swiss and European market in Q3/21 and to seek further certification to have its solution recognised as a medical device.
Detecting COVID-19 coughs
After several years of research, in mid-March 2020, half a year before the start-up's incorporation and as the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading around the globe, the Resmonics founders built their AI into an app that was ready for testing. When initial studies on COVID-19 showed that coughing was one of the main symptoms of COVID-19, it it became clear to Tinschert and Shih that their AI could contribute to research by quantifying the level of patients’ cough. Mobile phones with the app were attached to a number of COVID-19 patients’ beds at the Cantonal Hospital St Gallen to monitor their breath and cough in order to collect as much data as possible about the development of their condition. According to the chief doctor at the pneumology clinic, the results were very reliable. The system is therefore now used to monitor COVID-19 patients.