- 14 July 2016
HighTechXL Start-up Medacc is working on the newest version of their ProbeFix. A custom piece designed to hold a deep-tissue scanner that makes ultrasounds. The scanners are already on the market, produced by companies like Philips or Siemens. Footballclubs Excelsior, Feyenoord and PSV are interested and Medacc drew attention from Philips. The multinational wants to bring the start-up together with Lumify, a device that makes ultrasounds which is currently only available in the US.
Trying to make a valuable ultrasound image from a moving muscle is close to impossible. The device has to be held in place for a long time. Medacc offers a quite simple solution to the problem: They designed a holder to keep the device at the same spot. The holder is built with a 3d-printer and can be attached to the body.
The idea for the ProbeFix first arose during research done at TU/e by Benjamin Tchang, one of the companies founders. Together with mentor Richard Lopata, he explored a method to identify muscle disease with children, without using needles (the common way to look for these types of diseases is through blood values). They decided on using ultrasound. But then a problem arose: It was hard to fixate the scanning device on a certain place.
We can see how fast an athlete recovers from practice.
Tchang asked his field-hockey teammate Victor Donker to come up with a solution to the problem. Who then contacted Jori Verbeek. They both studied Industrial Design at TU/e. Now, ProbeFix (the apparent solution to that problem) has turned into a prototype.
Between the initial idea and the realisation of the prototype there was at least a years time. In that year the company started dividing their business in two domains: The hospitals and professional sports.
In the latter, scientist Jeroen Molinga plays an important part. Molinger, working at BeLife, will use ProbeFix on professional footballplayers of Excelsior this week at a training camp.
“The athletes can wrap our holder around their body and then go into full sprint while the scanner will stay in place. After that, we can look into the way a muscle moves and see how it recovers. We can then tell whether an athlete should rest for a day or will be ready for a game tomorrow.”, Tchang says.
There’s also a collaboration with eleven Dutch hospitals. There, ProbeFix works from the same principle as in the sports domain, only the eventual use of the product will differ, according to Tchang. “It al revolves around the idea of capturing the way a muscle moves. If we do that, we can personalize healthcare.”
Hospitals will mainly use this for cardiology, where doctors examine the heart. A specific type of ProbeFix has been designed solely for this purpose. The design can be move and tilted in a desirable direction.
Philips presented their interest in Medacc not so long ago. The start-up and the multinational are now talking about the worldwide distribution of ProbeFix when it is ready to go to market.
In that conversation, Chief Medical Officer Jan Kimpen en Benelux CEO Hans de Jong of Philips are at the table. Also, the American Randy Hamlin has joined in. Hamlin developed Lumify, a ultrasound scanning device which communicates with a tablet. Hamlins device is currently only available on the US-market.
The conversation is mostly steered in the direction of bringing together Lumify and ProbeFix, under the flag of Philips. According to Victor Donker, the first tests to seriously start exploring these options will soon start.