Navigation path

ENTy, a medical device for assessing motor symptoms

050098 Bucharest
Romania
ENTy
A medical device for assessing motor symptoms

Challenges

  • Existing measurement devices are too complex
  • Subjective diagnosis results
  • Expensive old medical technologies

Benefits

  • Radically simplified equipment
  • Objective diagnosis results
  • Lighter, portable, lower cost measurement device
  • Uniform evaluation of patients with movement disorders

The Challenge

Almost 4 million people experience inner ear and balance problems. To diagnose problems with balance, ENT doctors need to comb through vast amounts of data in order to reach the right conclusion. In addition, they need to use large diagnosis devices that produce mainly visual information, which is not sufficient for an accurate diagnosis. The co-founder of ENTy, Doctor Madalina Georgescu, has encountered a large number of patients with hearing and balance problems during her time working with the Romanian Department of Audiology. Existing medical technologies and devices were typically only able to present theoretical results, and the lack of standards meant that the results were largely subjective. The medical system required a unit of measurement for each doctor conducting the same test. As a result, comparable diagnostic results were needed for all interdisciplinary consultations.

The Solution

In collaboration with ENT doctors, the ENTy team has developed a small high-tech device that assesses a patient’s inner ear and balance problems whilst simultaneously checking their spinal posture in real time. The ENTy solution consists of a lighter, portable and lower cost device that generates numerical indicators and that is easy to interpret. The device, in its current beta form, is the size of a door key and can be worn on the back or head. Due to its unique algorithm and the data from sensors (accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope), it is able to accurately identify a patient’s inner ear and balance problems and it can reproduce their posture in real time. The product can also be fine-tuned and calibrated, which is important for present-day medical professionals.

Implementation Process

Dr. Madalina Georgescu analysed the concept of developing a special device to monitor balance and posture, over several years. This was then followed by the development of ENTy, by a young team, in collaboration with ENT doctors. 

The ENTy device assesses the frequency, amplitude and symmetry of tremor, making it able to differentiate between types of tremors. For example, it can differentiate between parkinsonian tremors and essential tremors, between cerebellar tremors and resting tremors, or between intentional tremors and postural or kinetic tremors.

ENTy quickly gained recognition for its product innovation and in 2016 won a USD 50,000 prize in the Innovation category of the Microsoft Imagine Cup. The prize money helped the ENTy team to turn the prototype into a commercial product, and further validated the innovative nature of ENTy.

Business Case 

ENTy is still at an early stage and is facing some challenges, mostly related to difficulties with accessing neurology clinics and testing the product on a large number of patients. However, the product has already been tested by doctors on more than 500 patients and has produced good results, which demonstrates that it can be used in the medical field.

Results and Benefits

The ENTy product is able to sense, for example, the abnormal gait of a patient, their speed of movement and the distance between the steps they take when walking, all of which helps medical professionals evaluate patients more objectively. It enables medical professionals to design treatment according to a patient’s needs, it helps avoid over- or under-treatment of patients, and it helps to determine the timing of more advanced treatment or permanent assistance for a patient.

Device testing has shown that the most visible advantage of using ENTy is the ability to reduce the differences in the way that different evaluators score a patient’s status according to the Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). This important result is helping the development of a uniform evaluation of patients with movement disorders. Another important advantage that has been identified by physicians is the possibility of monitoring these groups of patients over the long-term, which may improve the treatment provided, leading to a better quality of life for patients and an avoidance of complications (injuries, falls, etc.).

Awards

-Microsoft Imagine Cup, USA, 2016 (USD 50,000), 1st place in the Innovation category;
-IXIA Innovation Award, 2016, (USD 30,000)

Sources