Stellenbosch's LifeQ in big tie-up with Garmin - TechCentral

Stellenbosch’s LifeQ in big tie-up with Garmin

LifeQ chief operating officer Riaan Conradie

LifeQ chief operating officer Riaan Conradie

Stellenbosch-based digital health start-up LifeQ, which develops advanced technology capable of measuring human body functions, has announced it has signed a significant deal with US technology giant Garmin.

Garmin said in a statement that it has formed a “deep collaboration” with LifeQ to “ensure health data generated from its wearable devices delivers on current and future high-efficacy information requirements of the health insurance and corporate wellness ecosystems”.

What that means in non-corporate speak is that the companies are combining their technologies to allow people to take much more detailed measurements of their health – and potentially share this with insurance providers.

“By combining the market-leading wearable devices of Garmin with the unique on-device and cloud-based ‘biomathematical’ capabilities of LifeQ, the two companies will deliver a joint digital health solution as part of the broader health ecosystem,” Garmin said in the statement.

LifeQ, which has been flying under the radar for several years, debuted the first of its products — an optical sensor — at International CES in Las Vegas last year, where it garnered a great deal of attention.

The start-up has a multi-disciplinary team of engineers, biologists, scientists, industrial designers and commercial managers. It is backed by venture capital firm 4Di Capital.

Co-founder and chief operating officer Riaan Conradie completed a PhD in biochemistry with a focus on computational systems biology, which — to put it in simple terms — examines human physiology, using mathematics to describe it.

Conradie said in an interview with TechCentral last year that LifeQ anticipated the emergence of wearable fitness devices many years ago. But the devices still have big shortcomings, providing only basic information such as calories burnt, Conradie said.

“The more sophisticated devices measure sleep, but can’t tell you why you’ve had five hours of bad sleep. This does not help to address lifestyle changes,” he explained at the time.

“Computational systems biology is able to develop personalised mathematical models to give individuals unique insight into their health status. It gets interesting when you start doing predictive stuff, like why your sleep is affected, or which elements are interacting — be it diet, physical activity or other factors.”

Apart from the exercise sector, LifeQ has uses in nutrition, medicine, sleep and stress management, and even population-level data research across large numbers of users.  — © 2016 NewsCentral Media

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