corvolution GmbH, a KIT spinoff, offers a sensor system for 48-h health checkups. Its use in industrial health management contributes to improved health of personnel.
Health is widely known to be man‘s greatest asset. This applies not only to private health but also to health in the working environment. Healthy and capable staff members are the most important resource of a successful company. In times of rising workloads, prevention and health maintenance are therefore topics of increasing importance. This upward trend was recognized by Dr. Silvester Fuhrhop, Dr. Malte Kirst, and Dr. Stefan Lamparth some time ago; while working on their doctoral theses at the KIT Institute for Information Processing Technology (ITIV), the authors intensively worked on non-invasive diagnostic tools in cardiology and movement monitoring.
Setting up a spinoff company was a foreseeable step for the three engineers even at that time: “Much money is spent on valuable research, but the results too frequently end up in a desk drawer. We realized early on that our work had a potential for establishing a spinoff company,” says Fuhrhop. Identical value concepts, supplementary competences, and the common goal finally made up the team of scientific founders. In the pre-founding phase, KIT Professor Dr. Wilhelm Stork was an important promoter and door opener for the project, while Innovation Management (IMA) and the Center for Entrepreneurship (CIE) assisted as consultants. With the support of EXIST research transfer, the three founders set up their medical technology company, corvolution GmbH, in 2014.
In addition to high-performance long-term electrocardiogram (ECG) products and services in the area of cardiovascular prevention and diagnosis, corvolution offers a compact 48-h checkup system, the mesana sensor. mesana is designed mainly for the service market in health screening and health management. To optimize the sensor system, a test series within the KIT was run in 2014 together with the ITIV and movisens GmbH: “The study produced important results for the optimization of mesana. They have meanwhile been incorporated in product development,” explains Lamparth.
Health checks conducted by means of mesana include three components: an on-line questionnaire, measurement with the sensor system, and evaluation of personal vital data. For the questionnaire, clients are asked about health factors, such as activity, quality of sleep, and perception of stress, which reflect subjective feelings. The mesana sensor adds the medical measured data. The sensor, which weighs only 20 g, is attached to the chest by means of a specially developed electrode adhesive and worn for 48 hours. It records a total of twenty important vital parameters and risk indicators which provide information about the health status of the person tested.
The sensor is sent back to corvolution where the data about the cardiovascular status, stress burden, and recovery in sleep are analyzed by algorithms and checked for plausibility by expert staff. This then constitutes the basis of a health report and individual recommendations for action to improve health. “mesana makes prevention a practical experience and offers suggestions about active minimization of weaknesses and risks identified,” says Fuhrhop. In the area of industrial health, in-plant or external ways of health promotion can be recommended as a matching offer. In this way, the founders provide a comprehensive, comfortable service package for industrial health management.
In the development from former colleagues to co-founders, the established decisionmaking processes of the team benefitted corvolution: “We supplement each other very well – analytical thinking and gut feeling are balanced. Strategic issues of company vision are settled jointly, and decisions are taken jointly about the way to go,” explains Lamparth. Personnel and resource management put a heavy stress on the founding team. “Whether market entry succeeds will depend also on successful marketing and distribution, among other factors. This is frequently underestimated. Our background is science, and we are continuously learning in the other areas and putting our faith on able personnel.”
One milestone important to the founders is approval of the mesana system as a medical product: “We are currently working on certification of the sensor and our analysis algorithms, and use this challenge as an incentive. We want to convince the public as medicine-based vendors for health screening,” says Lamparth.
Dr.-Ing. Silvester Fuhrhop