Opening medicine: how a team from Ukraine makes high-quality wearable ECG (and other devices) at home

Our goal is to remake basic open hardware technologies and devices, especially in medical area - but make them high quality, stylish and usable, both for users - including patients and medical professionals - and as a platform for development of other devices.
So far (as of Sept 2020) our progress is:
- main project - uECG, wearable ECG (100% ready, v4.3 in production)
- uEMG, wearable EMG (65% done, 5th prototype tested)
- uOxy, Bluetooth oximeter (40%, 1st prototype tested)
- uDoc, patient monitor (25%, 1st prototype working)
- uGlass, AR glasses module (20%, 2nd prototype assembled)
We also advocate for open medicine and simplifying medical certification: open sourcing medical certification processes, transparent public testing, drastic time-to-patient reduction.

What inspired you to make this project?:
We just saw over and over that there’s no basic, inexpensive technologies that work well, and that people can easily make them - a lot of people know electronics now, there’s access to software tools and learning resources, public forums that you can search in case you have problems, and access to production and components is far from ideal, but still more distributed than before. So we just started to make various technologies to eventually democratize them. We also have a dream of distributed, localized manufacturing that will be much faster, cheaper and use local resources.

What are some of the challenges you have encountered and how did you address them?:
Basically, our whole work life as a team is an everyday challenge. Initially, in order to gain experience in hardware, we turned to freelance hardware development so we didn’t have to work two jobs at once (or so we thought). While we mostly worked on commercial projects that needed interesting and useful technologies, we spent our free resources on our own projects, but never finished them. Eventually we have come to a point where we had a number of projects that were half-working, but nobody could use them because we didn’t produce and promote them. In fact, uECG is our first project that we decided to bring to the people. And there were a lot of difficulties here as well. None of us had full experience of creating a product. Technically we had a device, but after that a big and lengthy promotion process began, and we launched a campaign on Indiegogo in our spare time from freelancing. Though the crowdfunding was successful, we encountered a lot of barriers, from withdrawing money to production timelines: COVID-19 hit right when we started the production run. We also applied for two grants in Ukraine and were refused because of bureaucracy; tried to open our own online store, but payment gateways refused an unknown Ukrainian shop with medical-looking devices in it - so basically we couldn’t even start selling our devices. How did we deal with this? Honestly - God knows. It was a long and difficult journey of trial and error, building communication with customers and suppliers, optimizing the process of PCB production, learning how to do everything from making videos to packaging design while simultaneously writing firmware, app and UI for looking at the signal.
On our live stream, we will be showing some of our everyday process and telling in more detail about some of the more challenging parts!

Project Website
Categories: Health & Biohacking, Re-thinking the Future, Wearables
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