Startup’s ‘smart toilet bowl’ scans poop and urine for medical insights

Founded in 2016, OutSense raises $2.2 million to complete development of its IoT toilet clip-on; initial focus will be finding blood in stool, monitoring dehydration, constipation

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

OutSense's IoT device transforms toilet bowls into smart systems that can warn of ailments (Courtesy)
OutSense's IoT device transforms toilet bowls into smart systems that can warn of ailments (Courtesy)

Israeli startup OutSense has raised $2.2 million in a Series A round from Peregrine Ventures to complete the development and testing of a “smart toilet bowl” to help monitor health of users by analyzing their urine and stool.

The internet of things (IoT) technology developed by the firm is a box that clips onto a standard toilet bowl, making it “smart.” The box activates automatically and scans excretions using multi-spectral optical sensors. It comes with a lighting device and an autonomous controller with a Wi-Fi receiver.

The system delivers results to the cloud, where the real time analysis is conducted based on the chemical and physical composition of the excretions using OutSense’s computer vision algorithms and artificial intelligence technology.

The sensor connects to a smartphone,  either of the user or a caregiver, or to any defined data system. If an abnormality is detected, the system sends notifications and results immediately, thus enabling early treatment if there is any deviation from a predefined norm.

In contrast to the existing methods of analyzing human waste, OutSense’s technology does not require handling of feces and urine, and, according to the firm, offers results that are highly accurate and immediate.

The funds will enable OutSense to complete the final design of its toilet clip-on product and to expand medical trials in Israel and abroad for eventual marketing, the company said in a statement on Monday. Next year the company will start the approval process for the FDA and other regulatory bodies, the firm said.

Clinical uses of the device include screening for hidden blood in stool, an early sign of colorectal cancer, and monitoring dehydration, urinary tract infections, constipation, and diarrhea, which are the major causes of deterioration and hospitalization of the elderly. OutSense plans to initially focus its efforts on the remote monitoring of the elderly, a fast-growing market that has also been at the heart of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Proof of concept and initial testing of OutSense’s technology were carried out in Israel.

Large-scale testing in Israel and abroad is due to get underway in the coming months. A pilot is planned in Japan for detection of dehydration and urinary tract infections in the elderly in cooperation with a Japanese corporation that is active in the healthcare market and specializes in remote elder care technologies, the firm said.

OutSense added that it has validated the accuracy of its technology in detecting hidden blood through a clinical study at the Meir Medical Center in Israel, where the device was proven to be 90% accurate.

Yfat Scialom, CEO of OutSense (Courtesy)

OutSense is looking for additional strategic partners and is planning another fundraising round next year to enable the firm to begin its marketing efforts, the statement said.

Founded in 2016, OutSense, based in Or Yehuda, Israel, started at the life sciences Incentive Incubator in Israel, which is owned and operated by Peregrine Ventures in partnership with the Israel Innovation Authority.

“The solution provides new ways for an early detection of potential severe gut problems, such as colorectal cancer, and for improving health and quality of care,” Yfat Scialom, CEO of OutSense, said in the statement. “Besides the medical impact, this solution also gives people new ways to improve their wellness, improve compliance to medications, and monitor diets and personal nutritional needs.”

OutSense also hopes to create the world’s first and largest database of human waste. “This is especially crucial in colorectal cancer and other conditions which often go undiagnosed,” said Scialom.

She added that the company plans to add more diseases to the detection list, and hopefully eventually use the technology detect the onset of an epidemic like COVID-19 as well as for personalized care, biofeedback, fine tuning of drug dosage and even personalized nutrition for weight control.

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