“We wanted to build a product that people should love to get, not out of fear,” Sunil Maddikatla, CEO and Founder at Hyderabad-based BlueSemi, is very clear about why he ended up creating a completely non-invasive glucose monitor.
Eyva takes a different approach to track users’ blood glucose levels and measures levels in the blood through the skin. This means diabetics don’t need to prick themselves for the fingersticks blood test.
“When we thought of Eyva and the product itself, we always envisioned it to be a device with zero hassles, no wires and cables, something which is portable and sleek in design,” Maddikatla tells indianexpress.com on the sidelines of the CES tech expo.
“I got inspiration from the Mercedes Vision AVTR car while designing Eyva,” says Maddikatla, a postgraduate from IIIT-Hyderabad with expertise in high accuracy sensors, who started BlueSemi in 2017. In 2020, his company launched Sens, a contactless body temperature measuring device. For Maddikatla, the focus has been to make design-led healthcare tech products that are easy to use, affordable and connected in nature.
The all-metal device, which is the size of a smartphone, looks less like a glucometer and more like an Apple product. “Why should we build a healthcare product like a healthcare product? Why can’t we build something more beautiful,” Maddikatla reasons.
The device connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to the smartphone app, which will track and store glucose readings. It, however, lacks a display where the readings will be shown to users. “People don’t like numbers…this is your heart rate, this is your glucose,” Maddikatla explains why the team decided not to put out any sort of display on the product. “We want people to use Eyva like WhatsApp or Instagram, where at any point of time they open it and start using it without a second thought.”
Non-invasive glucose monitors have started to gain momentum across the world but different companies have different approaches to the problem. At CES last year, Japanese startup Quantum Operations Inc, showed a prototype wearable which can accurately measure blood sugar from the wrist. The Apple Watch-like device uses a spectrometer to scan the blood to measure glucose.
Apple, too, has been reportedly working on blood sugar monitoring through a wearable for years. In 2017, Fitbit teamed up with Dexcom, a company known for creating continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices, to bring the latter’s monitoring device data to the company’s Ionic smartwatch. Researchers are working on a new tech that combines graphene-and-gold sensors to monitor glucose levels, but Maddikatla says the commercial readiness of that technology is at least a decade away.
Eyva combines a technique called sensor fusion along with artificial intelligence to measure glucose levels in the blood through the skin. “We use around nine sensors to be able to accurately understand the glucose molecules inside your body,” he says. Users need to place their fingers on the designated area on the device, and wait for 60 seconds to measure their blood glucose levels in the most painless manner. The data that comes in then gets analysed using AI and the results were displayed on your smartphone app.
Our two years of relentless efforts paid off. Stay tuned as we further release on #EYVA can unite with your body.
— BlueSemi (@BlueSemi_India) January 6, 2022
While developing Eyva, Maddikatla and his team closely worked with diagnostic centers to vouch for the accuracy of the product. “Our data is reliable with 90 per cent accuracy,” he claims. While contactless glucometers are convenient, they are not as accurate as traditional methods.
At CES 2022, BlueSemi is showing Eyva for the first time, but Maddikatla wants to commercialise its product and has already started the process to get certifications in India, Europe and the US. Maddikatla is saying Eyva is not a “medical-grade” device, which could make certification easier.
Also Eyva can be used for different profiles and is not tied to one user. More importantly, the device can also be used to measure ECG, heart rate, stress levels, water intake levels and even detect blood oxygen levels, becoming an all-in-one health tracking device for the household.
Eyva has been designed in India and will be manufactured here as well. Maddikatla plans to manufacture around 1200 units in the first quarter but will increase production based on user feedback and demand. The first wave of shipments will begin sometime in March this year, with the device costing Rs 15,490.