Singapore assessments smartphone app with mini-check-ups from Reuters

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© Reuters. The founder of Nervotec, Jonathan Lau, shows the comparison of the vital signs between his company’s app and a pulse oxygen monitor in Singapore

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By Joseph Campbell

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Gunasekar Udayakumar (41) has his vital signs checked every morning before work at a construction site in Singapore without going to a clinic or seeing a nurse.

All he needs is his smartphone, which can display his heart rate, oxygen content and even stress level in just 45 seconds.

It can also tell him whether to see a doctor.

The application developed by Singapore-based startup Nervotec is what construction company Kajima sees as the first line of defense against another coronavirus outbreak in Singapore.

The city-state has kept its infections under wraps and wants to avoid a repeat of last year when a number of clusters emerged in dormitories for migrant workers.

Kajima employees at various locations have been using the application since December as part of a government-initiated program that provides companies with test technologies that allow them to adapt to the new norms of the pandemic.

It provides a diagnosis of the user’s health and relies solely on a smartphone camera, which can measure heart rate by detecting changes in the reflectance of light on the user’s skin between heartbeats according to the underlying blood flow.

Jonathan Lau, founder of Nervotec, said the Singapore government was very interested in the technology.

“We see the greatest attraction with private and public health care providers,” he said.

Lau’s first inspiration came from his experience as an Air Force pilot as he underwent constant scrutiny.

He eventually started a company that used handheld devices to monitor pilots. But when the pandemic hit, Lau expanded the focus.

The app is currently under review locally, and Chwee Teck Lim, director of the Institute of Health Innovation and Technology at the National University of Singapore, said it could have a big impact if it is approved by regulators

“What Nervotec is proposing could possibly be a game changer,” said Lim.

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