David Maman of Binah.ai tells us about video vital signs monitoring i.e heart rate, oxygen respiration, respiration rate, mental stress, heart rate variability.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?
David Maman: Thank you very much, we are all fine. even though at the current situation, every cold raises fears, but for now we are all good. I hope you and those dear to you are fine too.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Binah.ai.
David Maman: Well, I am what is called a serial entrepreneur. I founded my first company at the age of 19, graduated with my first academic degree at 16 and Binah.ai is my 13th endeavor. Most of my start-ups were in the cybersecurity realm, but then I had the chance to meet my two amazing co-founders, Konstantin Gedalin and Michael Markzon and we began discussing together how a combination of Signal Processing and AI can make a real change when developing technology for extracting vital signs just by using a smartphone and the immense impact it can have on the wellbeing of anyone around us, we thought this could be amazing. Did you know that according to WHO, ½ of the world’s population does not have access to basic medical services, while millions are being pushed each year into extreme poverty due to medical expenses? Isn’t it unbelievable? What if people can actually be more in control and aware of their personal wellness, just by using a device more than 6 bn of us already have in our pocket – a smartphone. There are places on this globe where people do not have sewage on the street but are the proud owners of a smartphone. This would include of course some education too, but being able to foresee health deterioration and take preventive measures in time – wouldn’t that be wonderful?
How does Binah.ai innovate?
David Maman: Binah.ai allows anyone, anywhere to extract vital signs such as heart rate, oxygen respiration, respiration rate, mental stress, heart rate variability, and soon blood pressure, and many more – just by looking at a smartphone or tablet camera. Our technology, delivered as an SDK(Software Development Kit), can be used in any device with an embedded camera, but the most natural use case is with one’s smartphone of course. No other company that we know of can deliver such a varied set of vital signs, at such a level of medical-grade accuracy and in such a short time, from one mobile device only – without the need to purchase any wearables, home medical equipment, or even move from the sofa – just by taking a 1-2 mins video of the face. We actually analyze the upper cheek region of the face, no need for any identifiable feature like eyes, even with a mask on – the solution works great! Our unique mix of signal processing and AI technologies analyzes the video stream and delivers the results of the vital sign. We believe it’s pretty disruptive, and judging by the level of interest, awards and recognition we get from the market – I think others think so too.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
David Maman: Binah.ai’s solution can actually be very effectively used for combatting the spread of the pandemic. As you may know, stats show that almost 70% of COVID-19 patients do not develop fever, still, everybody sticks with checking fever because there’s no other tool that can check other related vital signs in a scenario that makes sense. Certain levels of oxygen saturation, respiration rate, and heart rate have been proven to be accurate indicators of the presence of the virus and foresee a possible deterioration that we know, can happen very, very quickly. So, we add this layer of prediction and protection by allowing for these important vital signs to be measured in less than 30 secs, completely contact-less. So as you may understand, we’ve been extremely busy during the last months and we are happy to be able to support the global efforts put in mitigating the effects of the pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
David Maman: I think that like almost everyone else we learned how great and dedicated our teams are, how we can actually continue to function very well as a team even from remote. We actually increased our team by 50 new members during this period. So, I would hate to say that the pandemic did us good – but the bright side is that it was a huge catalyst for the adoption of innovative technologies, especially by the medical community, and I think that these technologies are here to stay, even after this pandemic finishes.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and your company in the future?
David Maman: We have a lot of stress at work but it’s mainly due to delivering in time and serving our ever-growing pull of customers the best we can. How do we deal with it? Like always – we maintain the same casual atmosphere either in the office where we already came back or online. Binah.ai has always and will always be a great and fun place to work at, full of positive energies and creativeness, and teamwork! And hey – we are actually doing something that will positively impact the lives of millions of people WW – what can be better? We foresee huge growth in the near future both in our staff as well as revenues that we will use to deliver even more amazing capabilities and truly fulfill our mission – personal wellbeing for everyone, everywhere.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
David Maman: Our competitors compete with us on a certain need – allowing people to extract vital signs, achieve and preserve personal wellness, be more in control of their owns health. Right from the start – we always planned and developed our solutions to be medical-grade and nothing less. We are now in the process of being approved as software-as-a-medical-device (SaMD) with FDA in the US, Canada health, PDMA in Japan, CE in Europe, and more. So ultimately, you will see in the near future remote patient monitoring using smartphones and laptops instead of hoe-use medical equipment or wearables, or tablets attached to hospital beds extracting vital signs from patients and allowing the medical staff to do some more sophisticated work, or people sitting on a bench in the park doing their daily health check-up from their phone.
Your final thoughts?
David Maman: We are all waiting to see the end of this global crisis. But as it unfolds, we are amazed by the level of cooperation and creativeness people are putting into going past this event as soon as possible and we are proud to be part of these efforts.