Just read this NY Times article on Butterfly iQ – a $2,000 a hand-held ultrasound scanner device that fits in a coat pocket and portable like a stethoscope is used in the diagnosis of early-stage pneumonia. We need more inventors like Dr. William Cherniak from Butterfly Network for helping realize one aspect of the accessible and affordable healthcare for all.
Apparently what the invention here is that there will be no need for multiple probes as the Butterfly iQ’s single probe delivers a 2D array of 9000 micro-machined sensors emulating any type of transducer – linear, curved or phased.They made this portable and affordable by using an Ultrasound-on-Chip technology that replaces the traditional transducer system with a single silicon chip, leveraging the same silicon manufacturing as consumer devices. That means – one probe for the whole body ultrasound. What it also helps with is it last longer as it is designed with both a built-in battery and wireless charging, therefore offering over two hours of scanning.
And on top of all this, what it does is captures images on their mobile phone app, and will help doctors and healthcare workers pull patient information from their worklist and send studies to the secure Butterfly Cloud within seconds for further sharing and collaboration.
The above image shows everything we need to know of the unmet needs and the opportunity associated with it in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (EMDEs).
There are right now sustainable business models that could open economic opportunities worth up to US$12 trillion according to a 2017 report from the Business & Sustainable Development Commission for investors interested in realizing the UN SDGs
The ESG investment opportunities are estimates but what this shows is that there is a great chance for investors to alleviate poverty, mitigate climate change so as to create socially and environmentally impactful solutions. What’s not to like about that?
I have been previously raising with 2 colleagues Finland’s first Impact VC fund called Vault Impact and also am producing the InnoFrugal conference since 2015. For the first 2 editions, the conference focused very much on frugal innovations with perspectives from Academics, R&D, State Innovation & Development Agencies and Businesses. Then I began to see a lot of startups coming up in the field and doing impact solutions with their solutions directly contributing to the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). And it also became clear to me the importance of finance and investments not just from traditional banks, development agencies etc but increasingly of impact investors. These new investors are either doing their investments under the ESG Investments (Environmental Social and Governance) or the SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) and or directly Impact Investing with more or less adhering to one or more of the 17 UN SDGs.
There seem to be various schematic representations but the below one from Western Asset nicely illustrates ESG Vs SRI Vs Impact Investing.
I first met De Wet Swanepoel during Slush Impact conference in 2015 in Helsinki and spoke with him about his startup, the hearX Group, and their offerings in creating good quality, accessible and affordable diagnostic and related solutions for people with hearing related illnesses.
During our very own InnoFrugal conference in Helsinki this past April in 2017, we invited hearX CEO, Nic Klopper come and speak about how they are disrupting the industry sector for hearing illnesses with their “new tech-low cost” approach.
Now they are launching a new product called hearScope and I decided to have a small chat with De Wet and being the frugal innovation evangelist that I am, also wanted to support their new Indiegogo campaign for this device by helping spread the word!
Before going to the Q&A, you need to know that hearScope is the world’s first Smartphone Otoscope for accurate diagnosis of ear disease.
Here is a video showcasing hearScope:
According to the folks at hearScope-“The high-quality variable magnification otoscope “pen” connects to a smartphone running the hearScope application. hearScope is a diagnostic aid for doctors, nurses and healthcare providers but can also be used by parents to track and monitor their children’s ear health. In future, hearScope will be enhanced by our image analysis software and artificial intelligence systems to provide accurate, automated diagnoses of the most common forms of ear disease.”
So, you want to know more and help them? They are doing an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. This is a link to their landing page where people can go to receive more information about the hearScope and sign up to receive up to 35% discount for when the hearScope launches on the 1st of August. : https://goo.gl/fyrUcd
Here below is the Q&A with De Wet I did the other day:
Me: How many years have you been in the industry and what inspires your passion for healthcare solutions in hearing related issues?
De Wet: As a hearing health specialist my interest is to see access to ear and hearing care become affordable and sustainable – for everyone, everywhere.
Me: Why did you start hearX and what are the different offerings from hearX?
De Wet: The hearX vision is about seeing healthy hearing for everyone, everywhere. Our mission is to provide affordable access to hearing care using digital solutions that anyone can use, anywhere
Me: Why do you believe that the hearScope is important?
De Wet: Ear infection is the 2nd most common reason kids go to a doctor. It affects 330 million people every year and most have no access to accurate diagnosis for preventative treatment. hearScope is about offering a low-cost diagnostic tool that works with your phone to capture an image of the eardrum so that a remote diagnosis can be made that can direct treatment in underserved world regions. It’s about revolutionsing access to ear care and pushing preventative care forward.
Me: Why Indiegogo?
De Wet: As a social impact venture and technology we wanted to involve the wider community to be involved in the impact we’re after. Indiegogo provides a great platform to showcase the technology and its purpose so that we can put this solution into the hands of the world.
Me: What is the “Frugal” nature of hearScope?
De Wet: So the frugal nature of hearScope is that it will be at least a 50% cost-saving on existing video-otoscope technologies. The real value however is that our artificial neural network can diagnose the 5 most common ear conditions with accuracy >80%. This means access to ear care becomes affordable and available in lower income settings where its currently inaccessible.
Shivkumar goes on to list that since the Indian government has stated that they want to have an aggressive policy of 2030 as a deadline year to have All-Electric Vehicle sales in the automotive space. He talks about how to achieve this via three major areas:
– EVs as Electric Cabs
– Electric Buses and Rapid Bus Transit (RBT)
– (Electric) Metro Transport Systems
The key contributor to the EV affordability case is the dropping price of LiIon batteries, the major cost component of EVs. The recent BNEF forecast indicates a EV learning rate of 20-25% to continue through 2030.
Frank Robinson from SyncDev first uses the term “Minimum Viable Product” in 2001. Since then the MVP concept has spread quickly and has become part of business and tech world. Steve Blank and Eric Ries made it the start-up world’s mantra via their Lean Startup methodology.
So what is an MVP according to SyncDev?
We define MVP as that unique product that maximizes return on risk for both the vendor and the customer.
the MVP is the sweet spot in the upper left quadrant of ROI on the vertical axis and risk, which correlates directly to effort and time to market, on the horizontal axis.
What is an MVP according to The Lean Startup?
A core component of Lean Startup methodology is the build-measure-learn feedback loop. The first step is figuring out the problem that needs to be solved and then developing a minimum viable product (MVP) to begin the process of learning as quickly as possible. Once the MVP is established, a startup can work on tuning the engine. This will involve measurement and learning and must include actionable metrics that can demonstrate cause and effect question.
The startup will also utilize an investigative development method called the “Five Whys”-asking simple questions to study and solve problems along the way. When this process of measuring and learning is done correctly, it will be clear that a company is either moving the drivers of the business model or not. If not, it is a sign that it is time to pivot or make a structural course correction to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy and engine of growth.
So, here’s my take on someone who has never heard of Frugal Innovation and frugal solutions:
Your Minimum Viable Product Is Most Probably Your Frugal Solution
I am starting a new series where I will do some small media images with notes- I am calling them frugal innovation recipes.
I have been thinking for some time how to get the message across in this age of so much information where attention spans are small. I myself am guilty of this from time to time.
There is always room for long-form articles but it is for those who already are interested rather than for those who don’t know about the issue we want them to invest in. And when I look at how social media is being used to gain peoples attention, the following stood out:
– Social media images with text
– 2-3 minute explainer videos
Videos require more effort and social media images with text are easier to do. So, I am starting with that route. I shall be putting out a few of these recipe posts every week. So, onwards and upwards!
And this innovation’s key attributes are:
– ultralow-cost (20 cents)
– lightweight (2 grams)
– human-powered paper centrifuge (named ‘paperfuge’) designed on the basis of a theoretical model inspired by the fundamental mechanics of an ancient whirligig
– open up opportunities for point-of-care diagnostics in resource-poor settings.
Inspired by a whirligig toy, Stanford bioengineers have developed an ultra-low-cost, human-powered blood centrifuge. With rotational speeds of up to 125,000 revolutions per minute, the device separates blood plasma from red cells in 1.5 minutes, no electricity required. A centrifuge is critical for detecting diseases such as malaria, African sleeping sickness, HIV and tuberculosis. This low-cost version will enable precise diagnosis and treatment in the poor, off-the-grid regions where these diseases are most prevalent.