Mountain View, California-based Respira Labs designed its Sylvee wearable initially to assess chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COVID-19 and asthma patients. It is embedded with speakers and microphones that measure the change in acoustic resonance as a proxy for changes in lung air volume, which is the basis for traditional pulmonary function tests.
Sylvee is worn on the lower part of the rib cage and monitors the lung function over time to provide a comprehensive overview of a patient’s condition. It injects noise into the lung area and measures the type of sound that is produced. If air is trapped in the lung, it makes a different sound than the resonance of sound produced when air is fully expelled from the lungs.
Air trapping is an early symptom of respiratory decline. With Respira Labs’ accompanying Sylvee mobile app, digital signal processing and artificial intelligence can analyze the results and pulmonologists and primary care physicians can review the data to assess lung volume, capacity, rates of flow and trapped air.
“Well-established science shows that air trapping can be measured with more than 90% accuracy using low-frequency sound. There is a clear difference in the acoustic resonance spectra of COPD patients versus healthy controls,” CEO and founder Dr. Maria Artunduaga said in a news release. “With more than 100 million Americans affected by COPD, COVID-19 and asthma, and with an aging population, it can be lifesaving to remotely and accurately monitor lung function and discover a problem early enough to avoid serious consequences. Our goal is to flag abnormalities early, enable earlier treatment at home and empower patients to manage their own health.”
Sylvee uses off-the-shelf sensors that connect to a smartphone app where algorithms and machine learning convert active sound signals into acoustic resonance signatures.
“The device facilitates early diagnosis and management of acute deterioration, which is what respiratory patients must avoid. We provide vital information to doctors and patients so they can make the medical treatment changes earlier and prevent hospitalizations,” Artunduaga said.