Swansea Uni lecturers develop wearable to revolutionise surgical patient care

Two lecturers from Swansea University’s School of Medicine are looking to revolutionise surgical patient care with a new piece of wearable tech they’ve developed.

Dr David Williams and Dr John Dingley have unveiled Vivi, a head-mounted display that gives medical professionals the ability to monitor patients’ vitals and recognise changes in heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels continually.

The product is based on a fold-away design and sports a display that can be configured to specific individual requirements through a smartphone app.

It’s Bluetooth capable so it can connect to medical equipment easily, and clinicians can view real-time patient data through their peripheral vision.

The pair manufactured the first prototypes of Vivi themselves, before collaborating with design firm Method and software R&D services company GlobalLogic to craft every aspect of the product experience.

They pair walked out of Dragon’s Den in 2009 with no money, but they didn’t give up and went on to partner with medical product manufacturer Timesco to bring to market a kinetically powered light source called ShakerScope.

Dr Dingley said: “Anaesthetists carry out a number of procedures having just anaesthetised a patient that require full concentration such as putting in specialist intravenous lines and performing nerve blocks, which sometimes require ultrasound guidance.  These activities are distracted by looking away to keep timely checks on a patient’s vital signs.

“Vivi provides an effective solution to this problem, enabling clinicians to visually perceive patient vital signs data within their field of view, improving response time and allowing more attention to be directed towards patients and the surgical field.”

Dr Gerry Ronan, head of Swansea Innovations, said: “It’s incredible what John and David have accomplished and it has been a pleasure to support the commercialisation of their growing range of cost effective medical products.”

Professor Keith Lloyd, dean and head of the medical school, said: “It is very important for Swansea University Medical School to help unleash the bright ideas and innovation in the NHS.”

David Rajan, CTO of Method, said: “Conventional head mounted display (HMD) products, like Google Glass or Vuzix M100, are engineered to provide a sophisticated and versatile software development platform, but are too generalized and expensive for specific applications.

“By designing for users and not software engineers, we were able to focus on the clinician’s needs. This led to the development by Method and GlobalLogic of a product that is smaller, lighter, cheaper, more reliable, and with a longer battery life than any other HMD device on the market – universal value that will help the client drive their business and potentially help healthcare professionals to save lives.”