A smart urinal and a mood-boosting app: Czech-made innovations that can save your life

The Czech health-sector firms continued with R&D throughout the pandemic, with help from CzechInvest.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 09.09.2021 17:00 (updated on 09.09.2021)

Research and development in technology for the healthcare sector has been developing at a rapid pace this past year. Some it has been related to the pandemic, while other projects address long-term health concerns.

Innovations in this field can save not only time and money, but also improve the quality of people’s lives. Several companies in the healthcare sector in the Czech Republic have had help from state agency CzechInvest to move their projects from being ideas into reality, and then finding their way to market.

Smart urinals can test for prostate problems

Urolog-Online.cz, a firm focused on prevention of male urological disorders, combines technology with medical practice in its modern urological prevention project. The goal is to encourage men to take an interest in their health so they can potentially serious avoid prostate-related illnesses.

Specialists at Urolog-Online.cz developed the Uroscreen smart urinal, a screening device that can automatically evaluate the pressure of the urine stream and warn a person of potential prostate problems.

“Our project for modern urological prevention is about making an easier way for men to visit a urologist for the first time. We try to interest men by using free available intelligent urinals, for example. in pubs, petrol stations, and so on. Every user can find results from these urinals, and can get more information on our website as a first step for urological prevention,” Dr. Marcel Janda of Urolog-Online said.

The device provides a contactless examination, and results in the form of a scale of lit thumbs up to down icons are immediately available on the screen at the urinal. Each user also gets a code number to enter online for detailed information.

Urolog-Online.cz benefited from Czechinvest’s CzechStarter program to gain know-how from mentors for developing its business.

“We got more awareness and wide over view about developing our firm. We acquired a lot of new useful contacts, and also we have started to contact the first investors,” Dr. Janda said.

App for mental health

The firm Luvelu developed an app called VOS that focuses on mental health. The pandemic situation and the restrictive measures associated with it have had a negative impact on many people’s mental health. The risk of depression and suicide has risen, and demand for mental-health services has increased.

The VOS application, created in cooperation with psychologists and therapists, is a digital diary where users can record entries. By way of artificial intelligence it can advise users on how to work on themselves and to recognize what is affecting their health.

With the support of a private investor, Luvelu’s founders decided to collaborate with CzechInvest’s CzechStarter program to develop the business side of the project

“This is an example of cooperation between a private entity that provides financing and the state sphere, which supplies know-how and a fast track for business development,” CzechInvest stated.

With the state agency’s help, Luvelu will take advantage of a three-month stay in San Francisco to seek further investors. The app already has over 100,000 users worldwide.

Simpler Covid testing, better face shield

Healthtech/medtech company Riocath developed a self-sampling swab kit for Covid-19 testing, after working with experts from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry (IOCB) of the Czech Academy of Sciences (AV ČR).

This sampling kit, which can be used by laypeople, reduces the risk of sample contamination and minimizes subsequent handling. Medical personnel are also protected from contact with potentially infected people.

Specialists have also developed a disposable two-shelled protective face shield specifically intended to protect the face from direct contact with the virus.

Even before the pandemic, IOCB and Riocath had been working together to develop and patent technology for tubular medical devices such as catheters, incubation tubes, and drains. Riocath joined CzechInvest’s CzechMatch program with these products to gain contacts on the East Coast of the United States.

More secure biometric data

Fingerprints, handwriting, facial recognition, voice, and the iris of the eye are common ways to prove identity. But these are easily mimicked, and have other drawbacks. Voice and iris recognition in particular have a lot of false results. Some facial recognition scanners can be fooled by a large photograph, for example, and fingerprints can be reproduced in plastic casts.

The firm Cardoid has come up with a new generation of biometrics based on electrocardiogram (EKG) readings using a smartwatch. The EKG cannot be mimicked, and it also proves the intended person is actually there and alive.

Each individual’s unique heartbeat pattern is one of the most secure items of biometric data currently available, according to Cardoid. It has all the advantages of an iris scan, but is more accurate and cheaper, according to its developer.

The firm is also participating in the CzechStarter program so it can develop its financial plan, marketing strategy, PR activities, and, of no less importance, protect its intellectual property.

More support for innovations in healthcare

The Hack the Crisis hackathon sought out companies focused on AI, analytics, and the healthcare system. The hackathon, which brought together state organizations, regions, universities, associations and private companies, was organized by CzechInvest in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

“The purpose of the hackathon was to accelerate the implementation of selected projects that reflect the country’s priorities in the fight against the coronavirus while mitigating the impacts of the pandemic on various areas of our lives. The winning projects included, among others, VirtualLab’s virtual ICU, ground-breaking PCR saliva tests from Diana Biotechnologies, and Kaleido’s use of virtual reality in senior care,” Czechinvest stated.

CzechInvest’s ecosystem comprises not only hundreds of startups, but also top experts at home and abroad. Thanks to this, CzechInvest is able to fulfill its mission of supporting exceptional Czech projects on their path to success. This helps to contribute to the Czech Republic’s overall development and growth.

Support for Czech healthcare projects

Within the Startup Support project, CzechInvest supports young companies that are aiming to expand abroad. There is a three-month CzechAccelerator program, a one-week CzechMatch program, and a CzechDemo program, which arranges participation in international trade fairs.

In addition, there is the CzechStarter program, which offers assistance with business development and mentoring in areas such as human resources, law, marketing, and finance, as well as assistance with protection of intellectual property and obtaining patents.

This article was written in association with CzechInvest. To read more about our partner content policies see here.

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