Digital health start-up Thalman Health was announced as the second Irish company to qualify for support and funding from the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre (ESA BIC) in Ireland.
Led by Tyndall National Institute, the ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland consortium, which incorporates ESA BIC, launched last year to help start-ups use space technology to solve challenges on Earth and to help companies expand their offering by ‘spinning-in’ to space.
Thalman, which operates in Cork and San Francisco, has developed novel wearable sensor technology which provides an alternative to invasive (eg rectal probe) and episodic (eg oral thermometer) techniques for measuring core body temperature.
This technology combined with Thalman’s proprietary algorithms enables health professionals and caregivers to detect the first signs of infectious fever hours before the current standard of care. By alerting users and carers to the early signs of illness before overt clinical signs manifest, the technology could provide a much bigger window for early intervention for those most at-risk, such as oncology patients or the elderly, and potentially save thousands of lives per year.
The technology will be useful for astronauts and researchers to monitor their core body temperature for monitoring astronauts during missions, and gathering data for research into how space flight affects the human body.
David Gibbons, manager, ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland, said: “This is an exciting example of how space technology can improve our lives on the ground. ESA BIC, with support from Enterprise Ireland, will enable Thalman Health to accelerate the development and commercialisation of this technology which could potentially lead to a new and better way to prevent or treat illness.”
The multi-patented technology is commencing clinical trials in preparation for obtaining regulatory approval in both healthcare and space applications.
The Irish Government’s investment in ESA is supporting strong growth in the sector in Ireland with the number of companies in the sector expected to expand to over 80 by 2020, generating annual revenues growing from over €75 million in 2015 to over €150 million by 2020.