Tremor is one of the most common movement disorders within humans. In the EU the number of patients is estimated to 40 million. Not only people suffering from Parkinson’s are suffering from the uncontrollable shaking of their hands. Often people are diagnosed, mostly at a younger age, with the so called “Essential Tremor”; depending on the force of shaking and the course of disease the holding of objects can be very difficult with Essential Tremor and patients get stigmatised in the public.
Measurement devices until now “expensive and bulky”
Because the symptoms of different tremor diseases manifest in different ways due to the daily condition, it is often difficult for patients to find out if the disease is increasing or the medication hat to be adjusted. “The problem is that measurements of the force of tremor are stationary and bound to neurologists; usually these measurements are only performed twice a year, because the devices are expensive and bulky” explains Tibor Zajki-Zechmeister, founder of the Austrian start-up Tremitas in the futurezone interview.
“Because of that we developed with the Tremipen a small measurement device with the shape of a pen; with that device it is possible to measure tremor at home. Due to that fact that patients can, similar a blood pressure pass, note their results of the tremor measurements over a longer period and take the notes with them to the next appointment at the doctor”, says Zajki-Zechmeister. The measurement process is very easy. The pen is held with a loose grip in one hand. The integrated accelerometric sensor is measuring the tremor force, the tremor frequency and the tremor energy.
Ordering via Indiegogo
The pen, that is produced in Austria, is the result of seven years of research and development and has its origin in the bachelor thesis at the FH Kärnten of the studied medical technologist. To finance the first batch the start-up is offering the Tremipen on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. Very fast supporters can order the pen for 249 Euros instead of 599 Euros.
With the pen, that according to Zajki-Zechmeister is intended to target patients and their relatives, the medical technologist wants to increase the public awareness for tremor diseases. “Many people suffering from a tremor disease get a strange look; people often think they are alcoholics on withdrawal. Although these diseases are very common, the public awareness is not given.”
The founder of the start-up knows what he is talking about; the idea for the Tremipen has its origin in his personal environment. His grandfather was suffering from Parkinson’s. Other family members received the diagnosis “Essential Tremor”.
App and web application planned
The project can also be supported with a donation. 30.000 Euros in 30 days is the self-defined goal. If more money is funded, further functions like app and web application with Bluetooth connection, with which the measurement data can be extracted digitally, will be realised. All interfaces for this are prepared and the will be provided via update. Because the pen is ready for series production, it should be delivered in July – after receiving the strictly regulated CE certificate as a medical device.
This certificate guarantees that the product delivers what it promises in medical technologic way – to measure valid and scientific data that can assist in a treatment. This is the difference that differentiates the pen from available smartphone apps; these apps are not going through the certification process that can take up to four years. “Of course I knew that our start-up is settled in a strictly regulated business. How much it really takes for a certification process did surprise me tough”, Zajki-Zechmeister is explaining.
Health care groups are no thread
That his invention will be copied by big health care companies, that have more funds and developing personnel, is no fear of the start-up founder. Apart from the applied patent, industry representatives have signalled, that the device is a special niche. If the plan is working and the Tremipen is successful, it is more conceivable that mainstream groups want to license or buy the technology.
( futurezone ) 04/11/2018