Often misunderstood as “blood poisoning”, sepsis is one of the leading causes of death around the world today. In developing countries, sepsis accounts for 60-80% of all deaths. It kills more than 6 million infants and young children, and 100,000 new mothers every year. 

“Two signs that someone might have sepsis are if they have a high pulse rate as well as arterial hypoxemia or blood oxygen deficiency. These are also signs of other severe infections, such as pneumonia which is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five in the developing world,” said Dr Mark Ansermino, a pediatric anesthesiologist at BC Children’s Hospital and Chief Medical Officer for LionsGate Technologies (LGTmedical). “Both of these vital signs – pulse rate and blood oxygen level – can be quickly and easily measured with a non-invasive fingertip pulse oximeter.”

Saving lives in the developing world is why Ansermino and his colleagues at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Electrical and Computer Engineering in Medicine research group developed the Phone Oximeter pulse oximeter, a sensor powered by a smartphone, in 2010.

LGTmedical commercialized the innovation as the Kenek Edge pulse oximeter. It was launched into the US recreational market in June 2014 to generate revenue that will support distribution and development of the urgently needed medical device in the developing world.