A Hackathon Team Invents A Ring That Can Hold Your Medical Information

The ring can upload EKG readings and other relevant medical tests.

The Ring Leader team. Photo provided by Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The Ring Leader team. Photo provided by Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Last month, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) hosted a hackathon to celebrate the launch of their iHub program, an infrastructure at BWH dedicated to entrepreneurial efforts and innovation. The hackathon was designed to “disrupt business as usual and foster creative solutions to the most challenging issues facing health care redesign and process improvement.” More than 100 clinicians, scientists, programmers, and others gathered on the Brigham campus to participate. The overall goal of both the hackathon and the iHub program is to improve care delivery. 

The winning team was called Ring Leader and their product is pretty amazing. The team developed (in just one weekend) a device that turns a standard exercise stress test into an outpatient procedure. They used a 3D printer to create a ring (a real ring that can be worn on a finger) that can upload EKG readings and other relevant clinical metrics to an app so a physician can view them remotely.

Because heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, Dr. Rajat Gupta, a cardiology fellow in the BWH Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and a Ring Leader team member knew that this invention was not only necessary, but possible to produce. Currently, the standard of care is for doctors to order an expensive stress test on every patient to assess their risk for a repeat heart attack. The team believed that more accurate, convenient, and cost-effective data can be gathered.

“As a cardiologist I order stress tests to obtain objective data about my patients and their exercise capacity,” Gupta says. “It would be better if we could continuously collect this data, encourage patients to understand the importance of activity, and save them the expensive trip to the hospital. The hackathon introduced me to engineers from the MIT Media Lab who brought a new perspective to this problem, and developed a prototype in 48 hours! The whole weekend was centered on innovation, and incredibly fun at the same time.”