Startup to build factory for ‘wearable’ that tracks oxygen consumption through sweat

Yopi has developed a monitoring device worn on the wrist to measure cardiorespiratory fitness; startup plans to recruit 70 employees at Sha’ar Hanegev plant in southern Israel

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

Yopi's AI-based wearable monitoring device tracks oxygen consumption.(Courtesy)
Yopi's AI-based wearable monitoring device tracks oxygen consumption.(Courtesy)

Israeli-founded startup Yopi Technologies, a developer of an AI-based wearable monitoring device that analyzes human sweat to track heart and wellness conditions, announced plans to establish its first factory, in southern Israel.

For the production plant, which will be located in the Sha’ar Hanegev region near the Gaza Strip, Yopi is planning to hire about 70 employees, including engineers and technicians. The establishment of the production plant comes after the startup secured NIS 5 million in grants from the Israel Innovation Authority along with $1.75 million from private investors. Mass production of the wearable monitoring device at the factory is expected to start in early 2024.

Founded in 2018 by Hemi Re’em and Dr. Menachem Genut, Yopi developed a wearable device that uses biosensors and AI algorithms for real-time monitoring of oxygen consumption (VO₂) through the analysis of electrolytes in human sweat during physical training.

Oxygen consumption, which shows how much oxygen your body absorbs and uses while working out, is recognized by cardiologists as a standard measure for tracking heart function and determining cardiorespiratory fitness. But until now, the way to measure oxygen uptake has been in specialized laboratories via a breathing-monitoring mask.

The idea for the Yopi (Your Online Personal Instructor) device worn on the wrist was born from a near-death experience of one of the startup’s founders. Re’em, a former amateur athlete who was using innovative sports monitoring technologies, including heartbeat-based trackers, to measure his physiological parameters, discovered one day that he suffered from severe blockage of over 90% in his coronary arteries that required immediate bypass surgery. After that, Re’em decided to develop a monitoring system that was more reliable than available wearables, which mostly measure heartbeats.

Yopi’s wearable monitoring device is connected to a smartphone application and can “detect early signs of heart function deterioration online, potentially alerting healthcare professionals and saving lives,” the startup said. Initially the device was developed for individuals engaged in aerobic sports to monitor real-time training intensity and make personalized physiological adjustments.

In the next stage, Yopi seeks to adapt the monitoring device for use by the general public to detect declines in heart function before they lead to life-threatening situations.

“The introduction of this system to the market represents a significant innovation in sports monitoring and heart health tracking,” said Dr. Dan Hadas, Yopi’s medical director and a sports cardiology expert. “Just as heart rate monitors with chest straps were a revolutionary leap 20 years ago, Yopi’s system is a game-changer in real-time monitoring of physical activity and heart health.”

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) was the leading cause of death worldwide in 2021, according to a report by the World Heart Federation. CVD deaths rose globally from 12.1 million in 1990 to 20.5 million in 2021.

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