IoT and healthcare startups continue to appear in Korea, with many looking to crowdfunding for capital and attending international events to promote their products. One of these companies is Mtreecare, which is currently gearing up to take its smart thermometer Thermocare global.
While there are many contactless thermometers on the market already, Mtreecare has taken the device a step further. In addition to the usual features you would expect, such as different temperature modes, it can also be linked to a smartphone via Bluetooth to store data and provide useful information.
Thermocare not only saves temperatures from the thermometer directly to the product’s app, but also provides other useful information such as humidity levels, and health advice. Different user profiles can be created for each member of your family, and temperatures, symptoms, and medication taken can all be easily recorded on an intuitive timeline.
Primarily targeted at parents with young children, the app also provides comprehensive information for expecting and new mothers, as well as guidance on how to deal with fevers and other illness. A handy map of the nearest hospitals and medical centers is also available.
Integration with IBM’s Watson
Mtreecare recently showcased an upcoming version of Thermocare, which uses IBM’s cognitive engine Watson, at the Slush 2016 conference in Finland. The technology is capable of answering questions posed in natural language, and lets parents essentially “chat” with Watson to get the best advice on treating a child with a fever, based on data from the thermometer, app and follow up questions.
“Currently, the service advises the user if their child should see a doctor based on how the parent has responded to the fever already, how much medicine has been taken and when, and whether symptoms are persisting. It can also recommend the best doctor in the area for those symptoms.” says Peter Park, CEO of Mtreecare.
There are plans to eventually expand the scope of the service beyond infant and child health, to a range of everyday useful knowledge that can be accessed by chatting with the app.
Park says that the integration of Watson was made possible due to the company’s partner program which opens up its software to third parties. “If there is one thing that sets Thermocare apart from other thermometers, it’s that since launch we’ve included a software development kit in order to make partnerships with various businesses possible.”
In the future, the company plans to use its partner program to support healthcare businesses, insurance companies and public organizations.
Two years in the making
Park, who has a background in web service development and consulting, founded Mtreecare in 2013 with previous colleagues. In April 2014, the startup began work on Thermocare and at the same, quickly developed and began selling a GPS tracking device to gain practice in creating hardware.
“It was the first time my colleagues and I had made hardware, so at the request of another company we made the tracking devices to recognize and reduce problems during the production process prior to developing Thermocare.”
After gaining four patents in 2015, Mtreecare attracted US$120,000 in investment soon after launching the Thermocare app. The company also found success with crowdfunding and managed to raise $20,000 in December 2015.
Taking Thermocare global
Mtreecare is gearing up to release its product in Europe and South-east Asia mid-2017 and is currently awaiting CE certification in Europe. It also plans to enter the US and Japanese markets after gaining the necessary certifications around December 2017.
Despite Thermocare having been on sale in Korea since June 2016, it’s not yet able to use Watson in the country due to language support issues and ambiguity of local laws regarding the use of AI with medical devices.
“We plan to launch the Watson-integrated version of the app in English speaking countries at the same time Thermocare is launched there.” says Park.
Find out more about Mtreecare and Thermocare on their website.