It’s hard to stand out amidst hundreds of well-established global companies offering innovative medical devices and new solutions for patient monitoring at the annual HIMSS conference. Shimmer Research, an Irish company looking to bring its wearable wireless sensor platform to the U.S. healthcare market took on the challenge in hopes of meeting new OEM partners and finding new opportunities for product development at the event. Kieran Daly, Vice President of Business Development at Shimmer Research, was busy spreading the word about Shimmer technology and trying to cement new partnerships. Daly noted that participation in HIMSS was only one facet of the campaign to expand Shimmer, which currently has a 12 person team and a Boston office, “The U.S. is currently our largest market, and we have big plans to grow there over the next 12 to 18 months on the industrial and research side.”
The company is already working with a number of research partners who use the open source Shimmer platform and configure it to collect and measure the data specific to a particular medical monitoring. One of the attractions for research applications is that Shimmer comes configured with an open source library of firmware to accelerate development of specific types of monitoring projects and pilot deployments. The researchers just have to develop their own data aggregation and analysis software and algorithms to interpret the raw data that is collected. To scale beyond small pilots, Daly is hoping to land more OEM partnerships that will leverage the Shimmer platform and sensors in more extensive product rollouts. In addition, Shimmer is working on some of its own branded applications, with plans to bring these to market in the coming year.
The technology underpinning Shimmer includes a configurable wireless sensor platform that is lightweight enough to be worn without hampering normal activity. In addition to Bluetooth and Zigbee connectivity for wireless data communication, the platform provides data capture and processing and basic motion sensing capabilities. Its architecture connects to sensor and health monitoring modules and can be adapted to a wide range of health and medical monitoring applications.
According to Daly, academic and medical researchers are using the Shimmer platform to design and test pilot projects ranging from monitoring of tremors in Parkinson’s patients to predicting (and helping to avoid) falls by detecting subtle gait and balance problems. Commercial applications include a program by Insight Diagnostics to diagnosis soft tissue injuries, and to help employers determine if such injuries are the result of a recent workplace injury or due to chronic, pre-existing conditions and tracking physical therapy compliance and recuperation progress after knee replacement surgery.
Shimmer is a division of Realtime Technologies, an Irish provider of electronic manufacturing and design services. Realtime licensed the technology behind Shimmer from Intel in 2008.