Israeli startup OutSense, which develops an IoT device for analyzing human waste, announced a $2.2 million Series A funding round. The investment was led by Peregrine Ventures. The startup was founded in 2016 and is an alumnus of the fund, now breaking free with the completion of its technological development.
Turning your toilet bowl into an at-home lab
OutSense's IoT device easily attaches to a standard toilet bowl and the activation process is fully automatic. The device uses multi-spectral optical sensors (patent registered), an illumination module, and an autonomous controller with a Wi-Fi receiver. The device scans the toilet content and identifies the optical signature in stool and urine, then sending the data to the cloud for processing, and alerting to any potential diseases or various physiological changes.
OutSense’s proprietary technology provides medical screening for hidden blood in stool, which is an established early sign of colorectal cancer (CRC). In addition, the IoT medical device monitors dehydration, urinary tract infections, constipation, diarrhea, and more. With the company aiming for FDA and other certified approvals, the toilet-based solution allows users to forget the embarrassing poop in cup ordeal, and get discreet medical readings during their morning visit to their throne at home.
By leveraging computer vision algorithms and AI to conduct real-time analysis of your number 2s, OutSense delivers a remote solution that comes in handy during a social-distancing pandemic. In addition, the system alerts medical personnel and caregivers in real-time regarding any changes in a patient’s condition via their smartphone, making it easier for doctors to catch early signs of disease, and treat accordingly.
The idea? A combination of real-life and a Michael Bay movie
OutSense CEO, Yfat Scialom, explains in a conversation with Geektime that the idea for the device originally came from combining science fiction with real-life. “The initial idea was born, when Ishay Attar (founder) was watching “The Island”, where people live in a futuristic utopian facility that continually monitors the inhabitants’ toilet activity,” she explains, “the idea came together when a relative was saved due to early detection of colon cancer, a total coincidence. So instead of leaving it up to chance, we realized that we could scan the excreta, and help save anyone who uses the device with early-detection capabilities.”
Scialom says that the product is designed with the understanding that more than one person uses the same toilet, and that there are few ways that the sensor can tell between the different users by identifying the nearest smartphones or smartwatches, among other techniques. According to Scialom , at the assisted living establishment in Japan, where the technology is being tested, the institution requested that the identification process be done by facial recognition when entering the bathroom.
What’s the success rate of OutSense’s sensor in comparison to traditional tests?
“Today, we already know that the detection in comparison to lab testing is very high - around 90% accuracy against lab work. In the future, we will also conduct experiments against colonoscopies, and then we’ll compare blood lab work once a year with our daily examinations. We estimate that we’ll succeed in pinpointing the lab test with the diagnostic value of colon cancer, and even identify precancerous polyps (which inconsistently release blood into stool and therefore are not always caught by lab testing).”
OutSense are preparing for mass production and commercialization of the device, and Scialom states that the company has been actively piloting the solution in medical centers and assisted living homes in Japan and Israel. Furthermore, she says that the product’s official launch is set for Q3 of 2021.