One of TRUST-U projects has received a new investment, making the company valued as much as NT$500 million.
TRUST-U of MOST (Ministry of Science and Technology) has once again successfully turned a professor's research to a startup. Developed by the team led by Prof. Bing-Fei Wu from the National Chiao Tung University, the technology of "Health Management System Using Image based Physiological Signals" is able to measure a patient's heartbeat, blood pressure, and other physiological signals without touching the physical body. Its reading accuracy meets medical standards, and can be applied to medical, finance, and various fields. FaceHeart Inc. is thus established to introduce the technology into a variety of highly-potential segments. As of today, the company has received a new investment from MediaTek Group, and acquired a service order from Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank in Taiwan. The estimated commercial value of FaceHeart is now high as NT$500 million.
The artificial intelligence collects accurate physiological readings through commercial cameras.
There are certain unfavourable conditions with the widely-available smart watches and smart wrists. When users are running or doing other active exercises, exact readings cannot be obtained. Also, when and how users wear the devices can affect the quality of data collection. But now, with the innovation by Prof. Wu, commercial cameras can measure users' readings through "looking at" users' face only without interrupting them while the final readings of heartbeat rates and blood pressure are processed and produced by the team's algorithm. The reading accuracy can be high as 2 bpm to 3 bpm when the patient is at a still mode, that fulfils medical requirements. Even when the patient is running on a treadmill, the reading accuracy remains within the range of application. No high-resolution camera is required. A 30 fps camera is good enough for measuring heartbeat rates.
"The system, including hardware and software, is solely developed by the team from the National Chiao Tung University while the particular algorithm chip is developed through the partnership with MediaTek. To be honest, we encountered a range of barriers in the developing process. For example, how can we precisely read signals when the light is dim at night or in a dark room? Under this kind of circumstances, users usually have to adjust the aperture or set the shutter speed of camera. But, we chose to remove the barriers by eliminating these effects onto the readings by the artificial intelligence. It took us five years to overcome all of the barriers before presenting the final product. Also, thanks for the support from TRUST-U of MOST. Without their support, it's not possible to commercialize the product,” said Prof. Wu.
The great potential in the fields of long-term care and financial industry has attracted manufacturers to invest and place orders.
Taiwan is now an aged society, seeing many manufacturers investing in the implementation of long-term care and the breakthrough of related technology. FaceHeart is proud and honor to receive a new investment from MediaTek. In the field of finance, FaceHeart is working with Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank to install its "Health Management System Using Image based Physiological Signals" in one of the bank's smart branch. The system is expected to strengthen its VIP service by upgrading the job of safety control and identification, and to offer a brand-new experience in digital finance.
"We can see that big international companies taking part in the fundraising of many well-known startups. We can say that it is now a trend for corporates around the world to take a share in startups. Over the past two years, TRUST-U has delivered ten successful cases. A total capital of NT$1,000 million is invested in these cases. Not only Taiwanese and international angel investors and venture capitals, we also have Taiwanese corporates to join the investment. We do believe bigger social effect can be generated in the future, especially seeing more corporates supporting academic startups," said Hsu Yu-Chin, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology.
Mr. Hung-Wen Kao
Department of Academia-Industry Collaboration and Science Park Affairs, MoST
Dr. Bing-Fei Wu
Electrical and Computer Engineering
National Chiao Tung University