[Hello Tomorrow] Hoope, a startup founded by three students from California-based Singularity University, has developed a ring-shaped device which provides an analysis of its wearer’s blood in twenty seconds.
In 2012 some alarming statistics were published, showing that the number of cases of non-HIV Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) is on the rise again and that syphilis, which had virtually been stamped out several years ago, had reappeared. As current testing procedures for detecting these diseases are time-consuming and very old-fashioned, three young students from Kazakhstan, Russia and Mexico set up Hoope in order to address the challenge of developing a fast, low-cost solution to help brake the expansion of STDs, which still affect 500 million people worldwide every year.
Hoope’s solution is a device which enables enables painless and rapid testing for the four most common curable STDs – syphilis, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and chlamydia infection – in one single process. The device comes in the form of a ring which slides on to your thumb and is activated by a button. Twenty seconds later you will see the test result. You then open the Hoope app on your smartphone to obtain more details, information and follow-up recommendations based on the test results. The startup founders presented their invention at the Hello Tomorrow conference held in Paris on 25-26 June.
The method by which the ring collects a blood sample is painless. An electric signal jams the nerve cell receptors so that the wearer does not feel anything when the device takes the drop of blood required for analysis. The Hoope technology enables detection of antibodies present in the body using a paper-based microfluidic chip that requires no power source.
One of Hoope’s founders, Irina Rymshina, revealed that they created the startup in order to ‟help many people who do not have access to reliable diagnosis due to a lack of healthcare infrastructure. Providing affordable technology and above all ease of use could help save many lives,” she explained. When it comes to market, the device is expected to sell for the modest sum of $50, which could encourage people to make blood analysis a regular habit.
The device has been designed mainly for young people, who tend to be more exposed to STDs but often lack information. ‟Hoope combines a medical device with an educational and interactive platform through a mobile app and website,” an ideal way to engage with Generation Yers, Rymshina told the Hello Tomorrow audience.
The testing ring is currently still at the development stage, but it has already been tried out by over 1,000 people in a dozen different countries and the founders are hoping to launch a prototype by the end of the year. Tests using this ‘lab on a chip’, together with the anaesthetic that goes with it, ‟are giving very positive results,” claims Rymshina. Hoope certainly appears to have the potential to disrupt the way traditional medical laboratories work. Meanwhile the team are ‟planning to extend our technology to detecting other diseases such as cancer, diabetes and AIDS, and we also intend to provide a pregnancy test,” Irina Rymshina told the conference.