Jessica Vermeer
11 March 2020

Imec and Ghent University, together with project partners, announced the launch of the H2020 project Inside. Their objective is to provide the medical community with access to a mobile diagnostic device based on silicon photonics to identify and characterize different stages of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).

The project was triggered by the outcome of the Cardis project, which resulted in a prototype mobile screening device for CVD. The device offers fast, flexible monitoring from within a patient’s home environment. Also, it allows for minimal physical contact and minimal skills from the operator. The objective now is to move towards commercialization.

Cardis prototype medical device that can perform laser Doppler vibrometry on a patient’s skin to deduce metrics for arterial stiffness and to diagnose cardiovascular diseases. Credit: Imec

The operating principle of the device is laser Doppler vibrometry (LDV): a low-power laser is directed towards the skin overlying an artery. The skin’s vibration amplitude and frequency, resulting from the heartbeat, are extracted from the Doppler shift of the reflected beam. The key underlying technology is silicon photonics. First clinical tests have been carried out in hospitals in Maastricht and Paris. The device readings showed good quality, although algorithmic translation to relevant markers for medical pathologies needs further work.

Imec will manage Inside over the next four years. To bring the Cardis prototype towards commercialization, the partners will develop a true handheld device capable of measuring, quantifying and recording cardiovascular conditions, along with algorithms to translate the signals into data relevant to monitor and diagnose several CVD’s. Furthermore, they’ll demonstrate the usefulness for GPs and cardiologists in clinical feasibility studies and outline a path to industrialization and manufacturability.