Clair Labs raises $9 million to monitor patients remotely by ‘reading skin’

Tech developed by the Tel Aviv startup is able to monitor heartrate, airflow, temperature, by catching light reflected from skin

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Clair Labs has developed a sensor-based device that provides contactless monitoring of patients for their physiological markers by tracking light particles reflected off their skin. The device here is mounted at the side of a hospital bed  (Courtesy)
Clair Labs has developed a sensor-based device that provides contactless monitoring of patients for their physiological markers by tracking light particles reflected off their skin. The device here is mounted at the side of a hospital bed (Courtesy)

Clair Labs, a startup that is developing contact-free patient monitoring technology, said it has raised $9 million in seed funding to further develop its sensors and enlarge the scope of its clinical trials.

The round is led by 10D, with participation of US-based SleepScore Ventures, which specializes in innovative sleep solutions, Israeli fund Maniv Mobility and London-based tech fund Vasuki, the company said.

Tel Aviv-based Clair Labs uses sensors for the round-the-clock monitoring of such physiological markers as heartrate, respiration, airflow, body temperature and oxygen saturation, without touching the patient.

The system can be mounted on a column on wheels positioned next to a hospital bed, over the patient, or can be a fixed device fitted on the ceiling over a hospital beds. The mobile device could also be used to monitor patients at home, said co-founder and CEO of the company, Adi Berenson.

The sensor-based system needs a partial line of sight to the patients’ skin, especially the facial skin, he said. “There are a lot of superficial blood vessels in the face, very close to the skin which makes the face an ideal place to measure patients’ markers.”

The sensors pick up photons – particles of light – emitted on different wavelengths from the skin, which gives insight into a wide range of physiological markers such respiration, organ volume, pulse, oxygen saturation, body temperature and others, he said. The data is fed to smart-learning algorithms which in turn produce accurate evaluations and alerts. It does all this without disturbing the patient and without burdening caregivers with an extra workload, the company said in a statement.

Illustrative image of a hospital patient in bed (gorodenkoff; iStock at Getty Images)

The system also monitors behavioral markers, including sleep patterns or distress, tracking changes in the patient’s position or detecting their intent to rise.

The idea is to look beyond the numbers and data to the patient’s whole picture of well-being, by studying how the patients move, their posture, their sleep patterns, Berenson said.

The company’s prototypes are undergoing clinical trials at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and the Assuta Sleep Medicine Institute, both in Israel. Later this year, the company will be starting pilots of its technologies with leading sleep centers and hospitals in the United States, Berenson said.

Clair Labs is targeting the remote patient monitoring and remote healthcare markets, which are expected to grow exponentially post-pandemic, the statement said.

The company was co-founded in 2018 by Berenson and CTO Ran Margolin. The two met while working in Apple’s product incubation group in Israel.

Previously, Berenson served as VP Business Development and Marketing at PrimeSense, the 3D sensing technology pioneer, whose Kinect motion-sensing technology was embedded in Microsoft’s Xbox and was later acquired by Apple in 2013.

Margolin earned his PhD at the Technion, and is a computer vision and machine learning specialist who worked in Apple’s research team in Israel.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, we realized how critical effective and seamless monitoring truly is for care facilities” as they cope with “overwhelming patient capacity and increasing disease rate,” said Berenson. “Continuous and ongoing patient monitoring will ensure early detection of deterioration or alarming infections. It will help reduce adverse events such as patients falling, pressure ulcers and more. In the future, contact-free monitoring will enable remote supervision of patients in home hospitalization.”

The Clair Labs team, June 2021; Ran Margolin, CTO, is second from right, behind; Adi Berenson, CEO is seated person, third from right and in front (Raanan Tal)

Prof. Yaron Dagan, head of Assuta Sleep Centers, said that the ability to monitor sleep without sensors attached to the body is a “breakthrough,” especially in the case of children.

“Currently, continuous patient monitoring isn’t available for every patient at internal medicine wards, since the medical teams’ capacity is limited. Technology that can help monitor patients continuously and send smart and early alerts when irregularities are detected can improve the quality of care provided to patients,” said Dr. Ahuva Weiss-Meilik, head of the I-Medata AI Center at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

The company’s R&D center, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, consists of a team of machine learning and computer vision researchers, software developers and systems engineers. The funds raised will also enable the firm to hire more workers for its R&D efforts and open an office in the US, the statement said.

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