Bridging the doctor-patient gap: Award-winning start-up levels up telemedicine with AI

Spurring creativity in developing real-world solutions

The Food TranSmarter was recently crowned a champion for environmental sustainability in the open group of the inaugural Hong Kong City I&T Grand Challenge.Organised by the Innovation and Technology Commission and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), the competition invited all sectors of the community to put forward innovation and technology (I&T) solutions to tackle problems facing the city and people in their daily lives.This year, the focus was on two issues – environmental sustainability and social connectivity. The event hoped to encourage the development of solutions that would make Hong Kong safer, more efficient, connected and sustainable.The challenge was split into four categories for the public, tertiary institutions, secondary schools and primary schools.More than 740 submissions were received from over 1,250 contestants, with 120 shortlisted to enter the Grand Pitch on Oct 15. Winners were announced after the Finale at Hong Kong Science Park on Oct 16.They were selected by a judging panel consisting of nine representatives from the government, industry, and academic and research sectors.

A snapshot of vital health signs

One winner in the university/tertiary institute group was PanopticAI, a start-up that aims to make use of photographic images to help doctors and healthcare providers remotely monitor patients’ vital signs and deliver better care.Its technology provides users with a holistic analysis of their health simply by using the camera on their smartphone, tablet or computer to take pictures of parts of their body.While the start-up has been incorporated for only about a year, the team has been doing research in artificial intelligence (AI) computer vision and advanced signal processing for a long time.The inspiration for the winning solution came from research on using cameras for remote physiological measurement, which is an emerging field at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.


Prior to this, PanopticAI had successfully deployed its proprietary AI temperature screening technology at various border points, government facilities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) during the Covid-19 pandemic.However, temperature is only one of many vital signs and the team’s research has shown that there is other crucial physiological information such as heart rate, respiration rate, oxygen saturation and heart rate variability that can be detected by simply using a consumer-level camera instead of a sensor that is based on contact.“Accurate measurement of these core vital signs can enable further diagnostic capabilities such as fever, stress, cardiac and respiratory risks, and more,” said Mr Kyle Wong, the chief executive officer of PanopticAI.While the technology was aimed at pandemic control, it has many real-world applications, such as telemedicine, elderly and neonatal care, autonomous vehicles, wellness and mental health, and insurance, he added.



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