Blood pressure monitoring is important but inconvenient. Measurement at home is alright, but most people are not thrilled with the thought of carrying a large blood pressure meter with them to work and other places they go. Lakka Technologies is trying to solve the problem by developing a blood pressure meter the size of a ring.
The idea is to make the device so small that it can be carried around easily and used inconspicuously. You can take the ring from the box and slip it on your finger when it is time to measure the pressure. The device makes no sound when measuring the blood pressure, so you can also perform the measurement in an office environment. This way, information can be gained about the user’s blood pressure throughout the day and in various situations. Comprehensive blood pressure data helps plan the treatment and medication more individually and aptly than before.
Miniaturising a blood pressure meter into the size of a ring requires an entirely new approach. Such a small product cannot be created using the components of a regular blood pressure meter. The ring blood pressure meter relies on new sensor and actuator technology. The finger is pressed with the help of a smart metal-based material, and a whole new sensor has been designed for the actual measurement. On the basis of the operating requirements, the ring must withstand at least three years of use. Its use requires a smartphone.
“The mobile app was made as simple to implement as possible. The phone can also be used for tasks like viewing guidance videos and timing alarms for measurement times,” says Sami Lakka, company founder.
The measurement results can also be monitored using a phone. Physicians may access the information via a cloud service. All in all, the development of the product has required the kind of special expertise that can be found in the Tampere region. “Former Nokia employees have top expertise in mechanical equipment design and miniaturisation,” Sami Lakka says approvingly. “Almost all our team members have a Nokia background and the related competence. In particular, Heidi Toivanen has carried out excellent development work in challenging mechanics.” The team currently includes six engineers with extensive experience in product development. The team has expertise in various areas of electronics, mechanics, measurement technology and material technology. In addition, the team has experience with quality development and the completion of complex product projects.
Aiming for the German market
The initiative for developing a new kind of blood pressure meter came from German cardiologists. Indeed, the product will first be introduced in the German market, and the goal is to have it included on the list of reimbursable equipment in German healthcare.
“In addition to EU regulations, Germany has many regulations of its own for products of this type. The German market is large and Germany is close to Finland, so it is worth the trouble to try and get there. We will be introducing a separate brand in the Nordic market,” Sami Lakka says.
Lakka Technologies receives assistance from an international consultancy firm in its efforts to win over Germany. Success in Germany would also open doors to other countries. The healthcare operating models in each country have an influence on how and in what form the product will be launched on the market.
At the moment, Lakka Technologies is not aiming for the consumer market, even though demand for the product would surely be high these days, considering the great popularity of various devices used for monitoring one’s health and well-being. Lakka Technologies is also involved in a large-scale EU project to be started at the beginning of next year, in which the ring meter is one of the new health technology devices featured.
Photo: Studio Mitja Kortepuro