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Introduction

 

Healthcare is at a tipping point - in part because the rising costs are unsustainable and give us no choice but to change; and partly because the explosion of portable technologies have ushered in countless capabilities for both patient and provider. For us, we see this pivotal moment as an opportunity to re-examine the scientific assumptions which underlie the existing fields of physiology and medicine.

 

Clinical science is predicated on static measures obtained at a single time point or at intermittent intervals: the tools we use - from the randomized controlled trial to prescription drugs - are optimally adapted to this data format and best address momentary, acute problems. Now in an era of increasingly continuous and multimodal information, it is time we rethink how we utilize these complex data.

 

Nature provides much of the answer. The human body is the perfect organization - an orchestral symphony of trillions of cells working in an integrated, common purpose. And yet the language - this dynamic coordination and synchronization - remains largely unknown to us. This focus on physiological dynamics is the reason why our group is referred to as the Dynamical Biomarkers Group. Our team - composed of physicians, engineers, physicists, computational scientists, designers, and data scientists - is tasked to explore this uncharted terrain of dynamics, to develop new tools to interface with it, and to apply these lessons to human health, medical systems, and the society at large. The challenging task of developing sophisticated hardware which allows for the accurate capture of physiological dynamics was fully in charged by HTC (detailed information, written in Chinese, on the hardware development process can be found here).

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Our Vision

 

We believe that every individual has the right to good health and to a fulfilling life regardless of their physical circumstances.  In our opinion, the ability to deliver on this promise rests on the combination of disruptive innovation, appreciation for diversity, and faith in the ability to control our own destiny.  Recognizing that Information is power, we seek to unlock the dynamics underlying human health and utilize this knowledge to help individuals achieve balance in their physical, emotional, and social lives.   

    

Three central themes drive this vision:

 

  • Exploration: the willingness to question prevailing tenets and to explore physiology /medicine using novel tools and perspectives

 

  • Integration: the capacity to look at individuals at a systems-level and to marry mathematics and “hard-science” with the “softer sciences” (biology and sociology)

 

  • Empowerment: the value placed on empowering individuals with knowledge and skill-sets important for good health and fulfilled living.

 

The Tricorder challenge is our foray into developing technologies that help achieve this vision.

 

Tricorder Challenge

 

Starting in August of 2013, the Dynamical Biomarkers Group began a quest in the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition. This international challenge aimed to foster disruptive revolution in healthcare by stimulating the development of innovative personal diagnostic devices. The competition challenged contestants to develop a device under 5 pounds capable of capturing key health metrics and diagnosing a set of 12 diverse disease conditions - such as atrial fibrillation, pneumonia, COPD, sleep apnea, otitis media, melanoma, diabetes, and anemia.

 

The Dynamical Biomarker Group is composed of more than 50 individuals hailing from academic institutions in Taiwan and the United States and from HTC - one of the world’s leading smartphone makers. Collectively, this group has expertise from the fields of medicine, computer science, physics, engineering, material science, and user design. Out of the more than 250 teams that initially participated, the Dynamical Biomarker Group is one of 2 teams that made it to the final round of competition. On April 12th, 2017, we proudly accepted the runner-up award. We are looking forward to continuing our work with the XPRIZE foundation and collaborators across the world in a effort make medical care and diagnostics available to all who need it.

 

Copyright held by XPrize

 

Who we are

 

Lead Principal Investigators:

Chung-Kang Peng

Edward Chang

 

Area Leads:

Frank.FC Fan

Yi-Lwun Ho

MingChe Liu

Chih-Ting Lin

Men-Tzung Lo

Ching-Hsing Luo

Kea-Tiong Tang

Andrew Ahn

 

 

For a list of additional participants and past members please expand the following:

Participants
Cathay General Hopital
  • Pachun Wang, M.D.
  • YP Cheng, M.D.
  • Pa-Chun Wang
  • Te-Yung Fang
  • Yu-Pin Cheng
HTC Healthcare
  • Azure Chen
  • Brian Mei
  • ChuenKai Shie
  • CL Sung
  • Dave Wu
  • Eli Lu
  • Engine Tsai
  • Ernest Chiang
  • Howard.HT Chang
  • Jake.MH Wu
  • Jason.CN Chou
  • Jones.CJ Chen
  • Leo.CS Chang
  • Ming Chiang
  • Owen Ko
  • Sean Xu
  • Shin Yao
  • SJ Lu
  • Tanner_Lai
  • Vince Chang
Landseed Hospital
  • Yu-Wei Chen, M.D.
  • Huan-Cheng Chang
  • Chung-Chih Huang
  • Chin-Pyng Wu
  • Chien-Lung Chen
  • Chun-Tunn Nien
  • Chuan-Fa Hsieh
  • Hsin-Ju Ho
National Central University
  • Norden E. Huang
  • Jia-Rong Yeh
  • Tien Hsu
  • Kuo-Kai Shyu
  • Mentzung Lo
  • Po-Lei Lee
  • Chien-Sheng Chen
  • Nianhan Ma
  • Chen Lin
  • Yung-Hung Wang
  • Wen-Yih Chen
National Cheng Kung University
  • Ching-Hsing Luo
  • Kuo-Chuan Ho, Ph.D.
  • Mei-Jywan Syu, Ph.D.
  • Shu-Chu Shiesh, Ph.D.
  • TC Chou, Ph.D.
  • Tse-Chuan Chou
  • Ming-Chang Yang
  • Tzong-Shin Tzai, M.D.
  • Meng-Dar Shieh
  • Shuenn-Yuh Lee
  • Chia-Yu Lin
  • Shin-Chi Lai
National Taiwan University
  • CW Lin, Ph.D.
  • Nien-Tsu Huang, Ph.D.
  • Shey-Shi Lu
  • Chih-Ting Lin
  • I-Shun Wang
  • Da-Han Kuan
National Taiwan University Hospital
  • Lian-Yu Lin, M.D.
  • Yi-Hua, Liao, M.D.
  • Yi-Lwun Ho
  • Yen-Hung Lin, M.D., Ph.D.
National Tsing Hua University
  • Kea-Tiong Tang
  • Chia-Min Yang
  • Da-Jeng Yao
  • Yi-Wen Liu
National Yang Ming University
  • Terry B.J. Kuo
Taipei Medical University
  • CH Shih, M.D.
  • Chung-Hung Shih
Past Members
HTC Healthcare
  • Aaron Hu
  • Alex Wu
  • Andre Chen
  • Ariel Chang
  • Bryant_Mao
  • Calvin Kao
  • Carl Peng
  • Carol_Tsai
  • Christina Lee
  • ChunI Wu
  • David Yu
  • Derek.CP_Chiang
  • Dittki Chen
  • Edwin Hsieh
  • Esper Shih
  • Fuchiang Chou
  • Henry Lee
  • Ingrid Liao
  • James.CJ Wu
  • Jerry_Ou
  • John Song
  • Jorge Wu
  • Judged Lin
  • Julie Wu
  • Kaku Kuo
  • Ken.CH Lin
  • Kevin Lo
  • Kuangming Chen
  • Mark Lin
  • Matthew Peng
  • Matthew_Chiu
  • Meng.S Song
  • Mick Tsai
  • Miller Huang
  • Neil_Chang
  • Renee Chiang
  • Swatch Su
  • Trisha Hsieh
  • Vick Sun
  • Wanning_Wang
  • Wyvern Wang
  • Xavier Lin
  • YuHsin Lin
  • Yumei Chen
  • Zack.YT Tseng
National Cheng Kung University
  • Mei-Jywan Syu
  • Kuo-Chuan Ho

 

Several other members of our Harvard group are also part of the team: Prof. Yanhui Liu, Dr. Emma Cui, Dr. Yan Ma, Dr. Mei-Chu Chang, Dr. Weihui Li, Dr. Jing Fan, Mr. Brian Gow.  

 

Our Tricorder Device

 

The Tricorder unit designed by our team consists of 4 main components: (1) smartphone; (2) vitals signs monitoring set, (3) the scope set, and (4) blood/urine/breath tests.

 

 

The Smartphone serves as the “Doctor” and the coordinating unit for the Tricorder set. A Diagnostic Artificial Intelligence App simulates the strategic approach used by clinicians to arrive at a specific diagnosis/diagnoses. Utilizing the reported symptoms along with a User’s age, gender, BMI, vital signs and other physical variables, the App calculates the risks for specific medical conditions. Based on these results, the smartphone prompts the User to perform one or more confirmatory tests included in the Tricorder set.

 

Vital signs monitoring: The Tricorder is capable of continuously measuring 5 vital signs: temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and oxygen saturation. State-of-the-art signal processing techniques developed by our lab are employed to assess the risk for conditions such as atrial fibrillation and sleep apnea.

 

Scope test: The scope set utilizes a Bluetooth enabled magnifying camera to obtain high-resolution images of the skin and tympanic (ear) membrane. Machine-based learning techniques analyze the acquired images and calculate the risk for either melanoma or otitis media. Cloud computing is also used to perform the computationally heavy steps.

 

Blood/Breath Test: The blood/urine/breath tests are employed to analyze fluids or breath dynamics to diagnose conditions such as urinary tract infection, diabetes, and COPD.

 

Thanks to the experience and expertise of HTC, remarkably extensive time and thought has been dedicated to the User experience – from form factor to presentation to video instructions. A large amount of effort was made to ensure that the User has a seamless and effortless experience with our Tricorder device. For more information please see our FAQ page.

 

Future Work

 

Our plan is to develop a next-generation Tricorder device system and make it available in remote areas where medical access is limited. In the immediate future, we hope to apply this to rural areas of China and then to extend the implementation to other developing countries/areas such as India, South America, and Africa. Integration of this technology in existing health systems and facilities will be an important additional step.

 

Further effort and resources will be dedicated to improving the Tricorder’s accuracy and usability while expanding its repertoire to include many other test conditions. We intend to incorporate additional cutting-edge technologies, build a foundation by which to validate them, and create a mechanism for quick deployment into the community.

 

News

 

Update on April 12, 2017:

 

Dynamical Biomarkers Group, led by Prof. Peng and sponsored by HTC, made it to the final round in the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition. The results were announced on April 12th, 2017. We were proud to accept the runner-up award and look forward to continuing the development of our Tricorder.

  

Update on April 11, 2017:

 

We were honored to partake in the ringing of the NASDAQ opening bell:

Copyright held by NASDAQ

Copyright held by CNBC