The inspiration for Neteera Technologies came from the most technological source possible, Apple founder Steve Jobs.
“It may sound strange, but Steve Jobs was hospitalized for a long time, and one of his complaints was that he had to connect his finger to an oxygen monitor. He wondered how it was possible that there was still no solution to this issue,” recalls Isaac Littman, founder and CEO of Neteera.
“That’s how the idea for our technology was born,” he explains.
“How can we control people without making them wear things, without touching them, without being connected to anything? After all, we live in a contactless age.”
Neteera, founded in 2015, has developed a small device that can be placed next to patients to monitor their heart rate, respiratory rate, breathing depth, and inspiration-to-expiration ratio.
It can be placed up to five feet away from patients, works through clothing and bedding, and sends all privacy-compliant data to the cloud and from there to various caregiver platforms.
When they started, Littman and his colleagues knew they wanted their contactless solution to collect enough data without any privacy concerns or cameras; be available; and not require maintenance and cleaning between patients.
“Radar technology solves all these problems in the right way, with good performance and at a reasonable cost,” he says.
Littman says Neteera is the only company in the world that uses very high-frequency radar specifically programmed to monitor human vital signs.
“When our heart beats and when we breathe, certain movements are created in our body,” Litman explains.
“Our device transmits a very weak and safe signal that knows how to penetrate clothing or linen, but not skin; it is non-invasive. When that signal hits the skin, it sees the movement of the skin and brings it back into the system. Then we convert the skin movement into actionable data.”
Neteera’s competitors in contactless health monitoring, Littman says, mostly use cameras or radar systems.
“We have an advantage in that we can get more data from this wireless device, which is cheaper and doesn’t use a camera, so it doesn’t have privacy or storage aspects,” he says.
Furthermore, “if tomorrow we want to add features like sleep monitoring or sleep disorder detection, you don’t need to change the system. These additional features can only be added through a software update.”
Neteera’s solution, Litman notes, has many potential use cases, from monitoring patients in hospitals and nursing homes to monitoring the elderly at home.
It is currently in 15 nursing homes across the United States, having received FDA approval last September. The next step will be hospitals and homes.
The Jerusalem-based company has raised $30 million from both venture capital firms and private investors since its inception. It has 30 employees and is currently in the early stages of development.
“This means that there are already orders for everything we manage to produce, and we are starting to work on increasing production and transport. In terms of demand, our challenge now is not to bring in new customers or orders, but to meet existing demand.”
Covid, Litman says, showed the value of Neteera’s solution.
“I think a lot of organizations realized the benefits for patients on the one hand, and the benefit on the other hand of not going into a patient’s room and touching them.”
“Another thing that’s happened post-Covid is that there’s a shortage of medical and paramedical staff in the US and around the world,” he notes. “Technology can be a solution to some of these workforce challenges.”
“The whole thing really accelerated our research and development and adoption of our technology.”
Littman plans to continue adding more features to the Neteera system. “Very significant cooperation” with the American research organization will contribute to this development.
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