Israeli start-up turns smartphone camera into a medical check-up

When was the last time you had five or even 50 blood pressure tests every day? That’s where the future is heading.

An illustration of's smartphone medical technology (photo credit: BINAH.AI)
An illustration of's smartphone medical technology
(photo credit: BINAH.AI)
Never beyond arm’s reach, the average person spends some three to four hours on their phone daily, checking their devices from just after waking up until just before going to bed. Now Tel Aviv start-up is using all those hours spent on WhatsApp and Facebook to simultaneously run essential medical tests – constantly monitoring the user’s vital signs – via their smartphone camera.
Leveraging artificial intelligence, signal processing and machine vision capabilities, the company has developed technology to transform smart devices into a vital signs monitoring tool. Analyzing video of a person’s face captured by their smartphone camera, the company’s app monitors an individual’s heart rate within seven seconds, oxygen saturation within 10 seconds, respiration rate within 30 seconds, and heart rate variability within 45 seconds. Within 90 seconds, the app can also assess mental stress levels. is now finalizing its ability to monitor hemoglobin levels, and is hoping to soon unveil the capability to measure blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
Leading the development of medical technology is co-founder and CEO David Maman, a passionate serial entrepreneur behind more than a dozen start-ups and who completed the sale of the first of four companies when he was just 19 years old. His latest company, Hexatier, was acquired by Huawei Technologies in 2016.
“This technology can work anywhere because it doesn’t require any hardware. We can work on any smartphone or embedded device, such as a smart mirror,” Maman told The Jerusalem Post. “Every morning when you brush your teeth, we’ll be able to extract your vital signs.”
Citing the lack of access to basic healthcare access for many rural communities worldwide, Maman emphasized that “you are able to extract vital signs from anywhere and anyone.” Using the company’s technology, he said, “We are able to extend the reach of any type of medical service.”
The decision to apply the company’s capabilities to the digital health sector followed a partnership between and Japanese automotive manufacturing giant Denso to monitoring the well-being of drivers, and subsequently the occupants of autonomous vehicles.
“Because we’re analyzing video, the first important part is to extract the face of the person. We were lucky to start with the automotive industry because we needed to make sure that we can run our capabilities inside of a moving car – where people always wear sunglasses, hats or have beards,” said Maman.
“We can even monitor a racing driver wearing a helmet by only analyzing the upper half of the cheeks. Once able to detect someone there, we can start tracking the individual.”
The technology, Maman explained, relies on the simple and long-established optical technique of photoplethysmography, often used in pulse oximeters or “finger clips” to measure blood flow. Rather than shining a light beam into body tissue, the company’s technology analyzes the reflection of light that returns to the camera from the cheeks.
While hopes to receive FDA clearance in the next few years to roll out its solution into hospitals, the company is currently securing partnerships in the insurance, telemedicine and automotive sectors. Maman also eyes additional use cases, including monitoring pilot health and for battlefield medicine use.
Insurers benefit from the technology, he said, by gaining access to long-term evaluations of an applicant’s health, a digital underwriting process for life insurance and for fraud detection when evaluating claims. The company is currently working to launch its product with one of the largest insurance firms in Japan.
For the growing field of telemedicine, providing remote healthcare for patients, the technology enables the evaluation of vital signs before a video consultation, during a video consultation and a follow-up period.
“We have been through four different clinical trials, in India, Japan and Canada, to be able to determine what level of accuracy each and every feature provides. I am very happy to say that we support any skin color and support any age from four to 92 years old,” said Maman.
“All the technology runs on edge [locally], so there are no privacy issues. We never see any of the inspected people, and never take or store images and videos.”
The future is not on-demand, Maman says, but rather involves technologies running and monitoring continuously at the back-end. While currently selling its technology to business partners, the company plans to sell directly to consumers in the future.
“When was the last time you had five or even 50 blood pressure tests every day? That’s where the future is heading,” said Maman. “It’s not about sending the information to someone, but to alert you when something is wrong. This is the future.”