Several years ago, amateur athlete Hemi Re’em was shocked to discover that his coronary arteries were 90 percent blocked despite his seemingly good health.
This set him on a path to co-founding Yopi Technologies.
Yopi (Your Online Personal Instructor) is a first-of-its-kind, AI-based wearable device that monitors oxygen consumption through electrolytes in the sweat. The goal is to detect heart deterioration and measure overall wellness.
Up until now, the only way to measure volume and oxygen (VO2) — cardiologists’ gold standard for determining cardiorespiratory fitness — was through a mask device or expensive tests available only in specialized laboratories.
“The amount of oxygen the body consumes to complete physical tasks indicates how hard the heart is working,” says Re’em. The higher your VO2 score is, the more strained your heart is likely to be.
“I thought to myself, ‘It can’t be that there isn’t another way to measure VO2.’”
Re’em began looking at cardiovascular research and discovered that there are electrolytes in blood and sweat that act as indicators. “Blood wasn’t feasible; you can’t get a blood test while you’re running. So we said, ‘Let’s try sweat.’”
The year-long research was the basis for the official founding of Yopi in August 2017 by Re’em and his cofounder Dr. Menahem Genut — who previously founded nanomaterial company ApNano Materials.
Yopi shows the wearer’s respiratory exchange rate and which macronutrients — carbohydrates, fat or protein — the oxygen in the body utilizes more to create energy.
“The device also shows the amount of lactic acid in the body [lactic acid buildup can lead to muscle fatigue and tissue damage] and how much energy it invests into particular tasks. The perfect analysis,” Re’em says.
Mass production by 2024
He touts the device as a potential game-changer in sports cardiology, allowing each athlete to train according to his or her physical condition and ability.
Yopi Technologies is planning to hit the market in Israel by December, initially focused on wellness for people wishing to monitor training intensity in cardio workouts. In the next stage, the device will have features with more intricate cardiovascular indicators.
The device, which will retail for $300, is intended to be worn on the arm. The sensor, costing $3-$5, gets replaced after every 20 hours of use. The monitor also connects to a Yopi smartphone app.
“It’s a revolution,” adds Re’em. “The VO2-measuring mask retails at $6,000.”
The 10-strong company is currently located in Kibbutz Nir Am and is planning construction of a large scale production plant in the area, having secured 2.5 million shekels in grants from the Israel Innovation Authority, as well as $2.5 million from private investors.
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