In medical treatment of emergency situations, time is vital- wrong steps, or delayed steps could easily come at the cost of someone’s life. Medical personnel are human of course, and harried- mistakes can happen while dealing with emergencies, which can be fatal.
One of the most common medical procedures we know is venous cannulation- inserting a cannula into veins to administer drugs and fluids through the body’s waterways, and to draw blood for running medical tests for patients waiting for a diagnosis.
However, if the skin has suffered degree burns, finding veins can get very tricky, and the need to act fast in these cases does not need explaining. Bruised, anaemic and obese patients share the same problem. Repeated attempts to locate a vein is something we are painfully familiar with- many cases can lead to vein thrombosis- a clot formation inside a vein. That can lead to dangerous complications, believe me.
So, six engineers came up with a design for a device that takes care of all the mentioned complications- eliminating the need of vein hunting. A Bangalore based startup, Infraeyes has filed for a patent for their product, called ‘Veinus’- that is, Vein+’nus'(Hindi for vein). Incredibly smart name, with an incredibly smart idea- this device is non invasive. That means it uses infrared rays to display a map of veins under the skin, the area the device focuses on. It won’t matter where the vein is present- if it is there, Veinus will find it.
Veins carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart after it has circulated the entire body. Haemoglobin, a metalloid protein found in our blood responsible for carrying oxygen is, well, deoxygenated in the journey back to the heart. The absorption spectra of the two states of the protein are different for different wavelengths of light falling on them. Under infrared, veins look black- and they show up on the device display. This automatically takes care of infections- zero probability now, and it is unerringly accurate.
The engineers ran an appraisal test St John’s Hospital in Bangalore on 80 cases, of which around 40 had veins that were not detectable manually, also helping with six critical cases. The prototype development happened with the help of continual feedback from doctors hospitals in Bangalore and Mysore. The device has a battery back up of 30 minutes, giving it ample time for 4-5 cannulation procedures.
It weighs 300 grams and comes with a tall flexible stand to help medics to pull and push the device around for a hands free operation. It can operate in two modes- ‘normal’ for veins just below the surface of the skin, and ‘thick’ for veins that go deeper.
It is brilliant, and consequently attracting interest, investors and orders- as far as Dubai and Indonesia. As remarkable this device is, it is a risky venture into a risky field which caters to specialized medical devices. To the three co founders with absolutely no medical backdrop- whether it is connections or industrial experience, this risk is not a damper to their plans. In fact, they are now going to work on the purer blood- artery detection, and also on skin cancer detection.
Infraeyes, which is currently bootstrapped, is now looking to raises a Series A round in the range of $2 – $5 Million. These fresh funds will be used primarily for a better marketing of their product and for hiring a dedicated team. Moreover, the company doesn’t just want to stop at a vein detector device.
Priyank, who is one of the co-founders at Infraeyes tells me,
When we go to hospitals or doctors with this product, they continue to ask us as to whether we can give them more such kind of detection tools. Blood-artery detection is the natural next step, though it is equally difficult.
Infraeyes is also aiming to expand their product demographically, by going into India’s Tier-II and Tier-III cities as well. As for Veinus’s mass production, they are looking to outsource most of the components, apart from the patented tech, which they will manufacture at their own facilities.