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Campus alumni-founded startup to launch home-use stethoscope, electrocardiogram

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AUGUST 14, 2017

Eko Devices, a startup founded by three campus alumni, will launch Duo — a digital stethoscope and electrocardiogram that can record a patient’s heart sounds and rhythms in the comfort of their own homes — this fall.

In 2013 as campus seniors, Eko Devices co-founders Jason Bellet, Connor Landgraf and Tyler Crouch created a product called the Eko Core, a digital stethoscope that allows clinicians to record amplified heart and lung sounds on a secure mobile app to receive second opinions from other doctors and upload the recordings into the patient’s electronic health records. The Core is currently being used by thousands of physicians and about 700 hospitals, according to Bellet.

Their latest device, Duo, will become available by prescription for use at home. It was built in response to a need for doctors to be able to monitor their patients remotely when they leave the hospital after being admitted for heart failure, Bellet said. Unlike the Core, Duo is a slim rectangular device that fits in the palm of a patient’s hand.

“We decided to make Duo because we had a number of cardiologists tell us that there aren’t enough tools to monitor patients — specifically heart failure patients — when they’re sent home from the hospital,” Bellet said.

The founders, none of whom have a background in medicine, consulted with cardiologists from Stanford University School of Medicine, UCSF, Massachusetts General Hospital and Mayo Clinic. The cardiologists offered mentorship and advice while the students focused on the technology and design.

Landgraf took a course called Capstone Design, taught by campus bioengineering professor Amy Herr, that allows students to learn engineering design and apply it to real life.

“(The) engineering design course at Berkeley (BioE 192) is where both Connor and Charvi (Chetty) got their start in the area of medical device/telemedicine engineering and innovation,” Herr said in an email. “Our seniors in BioE are tasked with first learning and then immediately applying the formal engineering design process to both understand AND solve unmet needs.”

Other products, such as the AliveCor Kardia Mobile, have already been released and offer similar EKG for patients for home use. The Duo, however, includes the use of a stethoscope along with an EKG.

Herr said in an email that the “use of user-centered engineering design is opening all kinds of doors to the use of both high tech and low tech solutions to solve health and wellness issues.”

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said campus is delighted to see that former students succeed as young entrepreneurs.

“We intend to continue to foster culture that supports people who want to turn their ideas into products and services that will make life better for millions,” he said.

Contact Atira Nair at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @atirastar.a

AUGUST 15, 2017