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Purdue University and physIQ Partner to Develop a Smartwatch-based Algorithm to Detect Early Signs of Viral Infections, Including COVID-19

  • Early detection of viral infections may be as easy as wearing a smartwatch
  • physIQ app embedded in watch collects physiological data as patients are monitored remotely
  • Collaboration advances expansion of other smartwatch-based monitoring applications

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – October, 28, 2021 – Purdue University and physIQ, a leader in digital medicine, announced the co-development of a viral detection algorithm for smartwatches. This innovation will be the result of a collaboration between physIQ and university engineers. The algorithm will be commercialized by physIQ, which develops solutions designed to improve health care outcomes by applying artificial intelligence to real-time physiological data from wearable sensors.

The research was led by Craig Goergen, Purdue's Leslie A. Geddes Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering.

"Smartwatches are well-suited for the detection of early viral infection, including COVID-19," Goergen said. “Infections can happen at any time, making the continuously tracked data available through an individual's smartwatches uniquely suited to identify the earliest signs of illness. In particular, knowledge of a person's usual heart rate and respiratory during sleep and activity over long periods of time is especially valuable for detecting subtle changes from normal.” 

Study monitors participants using physIQ app compared with ‘gold standard’ biosensor data

The research involved a study of 100 participants, including Purdue students, staff and faculty, to determine whether wearing a smartwatch to collect data was practical, unobtrusive and user-friendly. Each participant received a Samsung Galaxy smartwatch with a pre-loaded physIQ app to collect data. Along with the smartwatch, they also wore FDA-cleared adhesive chest-based biosensors to capture a single-lead electrocardiogram signal and multiple other parameters for five days of continuous monitoring. Goergen's lab analyzed data from the app remotely using physIQ's cloud-based accelerateIQ™ platform.

Data from the chest patches were processed by physIQ's FDA-cleared AI-based algorithms in deriving heart rate, respiration rate and heart rate variability. These data served as "gold standard" references to compare with data from the smartwatches.

"The algorithms for enabling early detection are built off physiological features derived from the biosensor data collected by the smartwatches," said Stephan Wegerich, physIQ's chief science officer. "Generating accurate and robust physiological features forms the input to subsequent viral detection algorithms.  This requires the development of sophisticated signal processing and machine learning algorithms. Combined, these make the most out of smartwatch biosensor data, which is a big part of our collaboration with Purdue."

The viral infection detection algorithm complements physIQ's other health care applications. The goal across of all physIQ's applications is the ability to characterize dynamic human physiology over time, whether it is for assessing the efficacy of a new therapy, safety monitoring during treatment or general wellness.

"The collaborative nature of our relationship and work with Purdue University has the potential to greatly expand physIQ's physiological monitoring applications that can be targeted to a wide range of clinical needs using the pinpointIQ™ and accelerateIQ™ platforms," said Dr. Steve Steinhubl, physIQ's chief medical officer and Purdue alumnus.

In January 2020, physIQ received $500,000 from Purdue Research Foundation's Foundry Investment Fund to help advance its technology. In addition to this investment, three of physIQ's leaders are Purdue alumni, including co-founder and CEO Gary Conkright, Steinhubl and Chad Conkright, vice president of engineering.




About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last four years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at www.purdue.edu.


About physIQ

PhysIQ is the leader in digital medicine, dedicated to generating unprecedented health insight using continuous wearable biosensor data and advanced analytics. Its industry leading enterprise-ready cloud platform continuously collects and processes data from any wearable biosensor using a deep portfolio of FDA-cleared analytics. The company has published one of the most rigorous clinical studies to date in digital medicine and are pioneers in developing, validating, and achieving regulatory approval of Artificial Intelligence-based analytics.  With applications in both clinical trial support and healthcare, physIQ is transforming continuous physiological data into insight for health systems, payers, and pharmaceutical companies. For more information, please visit www.physIQ.com. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Media Contact for Purdue University Inquires:

Steve Martin, sgmartin@prf.org


Media Contact for physIQ Inquires:

Staci Rubinstein, staci@outlookmarketingsrv.com, 847-549-0712