living in space
The Canaria earpiece was originally conceived for use by NASA aboard the International Space Station to solve the dual problems of hazardous pockets of C02 and a black hole of biometric data.
As part of the 2016 NASA Space Apps Challenge, two major problems were identified – finding a more comfortable solution for astronauts to continually log vital medical data without impeding their experiment work, and to tackle the issue of CO2 pocket build ups within spacecrafts.
The Canaria system was inspired by the current limitations of wearable space technologies. Cumbersome clothing not only has the problem of interfering with daily movements, but is also susceptible to solar radiation when microchips are incorporated into fabrics. When researching the lives of astronauts, it became clear that there was one area of the body that had been ignored by designers: that imperceptibly small space behind the concha of the ear and the neck.
During the fast-paced ergonomics design process, one of the team had a full-blown panic about the loss of one of the key prototypes; only to realise that they had been wearing it for the previous 6 hours underneath their headphones. A testament to the non-intrusive wearability of the product and the advantage of anchoring technologies to this part of the body.
Canaria ultimately won the Global NASA Space Apps Challenge, winning the title of “Best Use of Hardware 2016”.
Canaria Technologies now has a US and PCT patent-pending status on its technology and has found a range of use cases on Earth where the technology can make an impact. The company and its supporters are excited about the Canaria’s ability to prevent accidents in the mining, energy, construction and transport industries.
Surviving on earth
Today, the Canaria is being commercialised for use in the mining, oil, gas sectors, and construction and transport sectors to tackle the same level of environmental challenges found in manned space exploration.
The Canaria Earpiece is based on medical-grade pulse oximetry; older versions of this technology are used today in hospitals to monitor intensive care patients. Usually only blood oxygen levels and heart rate are measured, but Canaria Technologies can derive 2 more metrics from these raw PPG wavelengths. These are heart rate variability and respiratory rate. Heart rate variability is the best indicator of cognitive fatigue and Canaria is one of the first companies in the world to read respiratory rate from behind the ear.
Canaria Technologies is a company that stands at the crossroads of innovation between the space industry, the resources sector, medicine, and cutting edge AI. With NASA-endorsed hardware, the start-up is building the first generation of predictive medical devices for use across a diverse range of industries including resources, construction, transport and energy.
The company prides itself equally on commercialising solutions to life-threatening problems as it does on furthering scientific progress through Research and Development – with the goal of ensuring everyone gets to go home safely at the end of each day. Cognitive fatigue currently accounts for two-thirds of all industrial accidents in Australia – resulting in loss of life and financial loss. Canaria Technologies is proactively seeking partnerships with Australian companies to eliminate fatigue-related incidents. The company aims to achieve this by adopting a predict and prevent approach to cognitive fatigue.