Startup adds air quality sensors to Google vehicles, app-assisted musical instruments analyze samples, and more digital health news briefs

Also: Student athletics injury management app launches, and Sheba Medical Center pilots MedAware's AI medication warning software.
By Dave Muoio
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Google Street Breathe? San Francisco-based startup Aclima has announced plans to outfit Google’s fleet of camera-sporting Street View vehicles with mobile air quality and climate emissions sensors. According to the company, all of the data collected using the new system will be aggregated and made available as a public dataset on Google BigQuery. The companies are planning an initial rollout of 50 vehicles.

“We’ve been working with Aclima to test the technology for years, and we’re excited that we are ready to take the next steps to begin this new phase: expanding to more places around the world with the Street View fleet,” Karin Tuxen-Bettman, program manager for Google Earth Outreach, said in a statement. “These measurements can provide cities with new neighborhood-level insights to help cities accelerate efforts in their transition to smarter, healthier cities.”

Musical sensors. Researchers have built a system that could detect counterfeit medicine or toxic solutions using just a smartphone app and an mbria, also known as an African thumb piano. After filling the hollow metal tine of a custom-built version of the instrument with a liquid, a user plucks the tine to produce a tone. Analyzing the exact frequency of that tone using the smartphone’s software allowed researchers to identify the density of the liquid, which they used .

“We have demonstrated that a 3000-year-old musical instrument can make a surprisingly good sensor, a sensor that can be applied to problems as diverse as identifying toxic substances and detecting counterfeit drugs,” the researchers wrote. “The mbira sensor is easy and inexpensive to build: in addition to the steel-based sensors shown here, we have also built functional mbira sensors out of discarded plastic pipets, lengths of flexible tubing stretched like guitar strings, and other commonplace materials. And the mbira sensor is simple and economical to use, requiring only a smartphone to analyze the sensor’s pitch and determine the density of its contents with high precision.”

Student athletics injury management app launches. Yesterday marked the launch of Rank One Health, the mobile app of K-12 sports team management software maker Rank One Sport. Designed in collaboration with the Children’s Health Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, the app looks to standardize injury documentation of student athletes and provide improved communication across athletic trainers, team physicians, care providers, and school administrators.

“In 2009, Rank One Sport founder Brian Mann began working with certified athletic trainers in Texas. We listened to every request and did our best to make the lives of our users easier and more efficient. We have seen first-hand the growth in our industry, and the expansion of the role of the athletic trainer within the school administrative leadership,” Jason McKay, chairman and CEO of Rank One Sport parent company AllPlayers Network, said in a statement. “These are some of the hardest working people in education, and too often their hard work goes unnoticed. We hope Rank One Health and the improved, FERPA compliant Rank One Sport will help athletic trainers, in Texas and nationwide, get the support they deserve.”

Flagging dangerous treatments. Results from a Sheba Medical Center pilot of MedAware’s AI-based medication safety offering showed that the software flagged one out of roughly 50 intereactions per department, per day.

"MedAware's technology was tested within our internal medicine department with very successful results, including 80 percent accuracy of MedAware warnings — an impressive statistic,” Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, deputy director and chief medical officer at Sheba Medical Center, said in a statement. “As a result, Sheba has decided to rollout the MedAware program across the entire hospital, within the various medical divisions, including surgical, pediatrics and OBGYN.”

Of these alerts, 39 percent of potentially dangerous medication decisions were flagged during the ordering process, with the rest generated after a change in the patient’s clinical status created a safety concern.

Platform overhaul. Patient-provider tech company Formativ Health has announced a slew of updates to its Patient Engagement Platform (PEP). The new features include: guided agent decision support, an enhanced provider directory, updated enterprise-wide scheduling, patient transportation support, AI-backed patient engagement, patient payments, market analytics, and network optimization.

“Today, a rapidly growing number of patients are taking more ownership of their care — elevating their awareness and involvement — so they are better armed to address and manage their individual medical needs,” David Harvey, chief technology officer at Formativ Health, said in a statement. “Our new and improved functionality allows our clients to ensure their patients are accessing the care they need — where and when they need it — more easily and conveniently,”