Diagnostic devices should be accessible and affordable for everyone. However electrocardiograms must always be analyzed by a doctor, together with the patient’s medical history, as a main step of the examination. If used properly, electrocardiography plays a key role in the detection, diagnosis, and monitoring of many heart conditions.
A Hungarian startup has made their MobilECG II clinical-grade Holter ECG open source. MobilECG was founded by Hungarian engineers in 2013. “Fed up with the unreasonably high price, cumbersome design, and dishonest distribution practices of clinical ECG machines, we decided to create mobilECG, a clinical ECG that is different,” they said.
MobilECG is an USB-based open source 12-lead clinical electrocardiograph. It is designed to meet all the relevant medical standards (ISO 60601-1, etc.). Smaller than most ECGs on the market, and also has superior signal quality. Works with PCs, notebooks, and Android tablets. Records all leads simultaneously. The enterprise went open source after their fund raising campaign didn’t achieve the funds they wanted. In a noble move the creators decided that this shouldn’t be a reason for this project to be left in a shelf somewhere. Now everyone can download plans, code and work with it.
Their second generation device is being developed, and planning to sell it as close as possible to the manufacturing cost, which is between $100 and $150 for the device and approximately $50 for the default set of cables.
They showed their prototype, connected to a mobile device wirelessly.
For patients, the video said owning a clinical grade ECG device would be supported by an online service to track their heart status. As electrocardiograms must always be analyzed by a doctor, they have been developing Internet-based services to connect doctors and patients. An advantage for doctors: they would be able to track the patient’s status online and help more people.
“To ensure the availability of a low cost device,” they made MobilECG open source. “Anyone can download its hardware design and software source codes for free.”
The team said they are working hard to make MobilECG available in 2016. In order to sell a medical device, certification is needed and MobilECG is not publicly available yet. They said, “We are working hard to bring MobilECG to the users as soon as possible.”
Also, they noted on the GitHub site that “you can still build one yourself. If you want to build it, feel free to do so. Contact us in case of any problems. There will be soon a technical blog where you will be able to find instructions on building one yourself.”
|Manufacturing Cost||$100 – $150 (including packaging & testing, without the accessories)|
|Holter Mode||microSD Storage|
|5 days (1-3 channels)|
|1.5 days (12 channels)|
|Resting Mode||Wireless Transmission (Bluetooth)|
|max. 12 channels|
|500Hz, 8uV noise|
|Standard features||Defibrillator Protection (5 kV)|
|Pace Detection (2 mV, 100 μs)|
|Extra features||Accelerometer (patient activity recognition)|
|Battery||AAA (single), rechargable|
|Data Uploading||High-Speed USB, recharging from USB|
|Dimensions||52 mm x 47 mm x 15 mm|
More details about the device are coming soon. The github repository is here.
MobilECG is quick to point out that its ECG business card should not be used as a diagnostic tool or an official electrocardiograph reader. All the same, the card does capture a real ECG reading from the user’s fingers on five different wavelengths. According to the medical data MobilECG provides to explain the electrical current readings, the ECG readout that the business card produces is accurate, even if it’s not totally complete.
To get your hands on a MobilECG Business Card from the manufacturer, you’ll have to sign up for the waiting list that the company has started to gauge consumer interest. They plan to sell the card for “$29 or less, if there is a lot of interest” which still seems like a lot of money for a novelty medical toy crossed with a publicity stunt. However, since the MobilECG Business Card schematics and code are available as open source files, you might get more bang for your buck by building an ECG Business Card of your own.