Kelvin Health was born in a turbulent and uncertain time – during the first outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic. 2020 turned out to be very challenging for many businesses, but innovation spikes when there’s trouble.
Back in March when everybody was looking for ways to use their knowledge, know-how, and technologies to help the world deal with a crisis unseen before, we started working on Kelvin Health. We started brainstorming how the recent development of AI can be combined with the power of thermal imaging to easily and non-invasively detect early symptoms of COVID19 infection. We got our first FLIR cameras to experiment and validate together with our medical team members what would be the base for work in the upcoming year – the development of an AI-enabled thermal imaging solution that can be used for screening and monitoring of various vascular conditions.
The birth of every startup is an exciting and very emotional time. Getting the team together, dividing the responsibilities, going through our contacts on our phones to see who we can speak to for advice and help, staying late at night crafting plans, and doing our first presentation. All done during a pandemic that changed overnight the way we communicate and do business.
The first couple of months were turbulent and eye-opening. A whole new world that has always been there but never spotted before suddenly appeared through the eye of the thermal camera and our software. We worked hard on our custom body temperature segmentation algorithm, released the closed beta version of our mobile app, and involved friends and family to test and improve. We’ve also built a COVID-19 X-ray classifier for validating our first version of Kelvin’s AI.
A huge part of Kelvin Health’s concept steps into various medical fields, so extending our connection to the medical world and partnering with hospitals for data collection was one of our primary goals during last year. We managed to sign agreements with several leading universities and research hospitals both in Bulgaria and abroad. Currently, we are actively collecting patient data to improve our thermal AI model.
Besides COVID-19, we identified multiple medical conditions as promising use cases for Kelvin Health’s AI. The most impactful one turned out to be Breast Cancer screening and monitoring. Together with one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Europe, we started working on a proof of concept project to study further and understand how Kelvin Health’s thermal imaging AI technology can assist both patients and medical staff to successfully screen and monitor Breast Cancer treatment and its immediate effects on the human body.
We’ve participated in several global health-related hackathons like The Global Hack and EUvsVirus as well as global COVID19, healthcare and AI-related forums as WeGO Smart Health Responder Webinar, AI for Local Value, NVIDIA GTC 2020. In April, we also became members of the Digital Health and Innovation cluster that created new opportunities to connect to companies and build relationships with the medical community.
A crucial part of the success of our solution is having a thermal camera optimized for our needs. We established contacts with several leading thermal chip manufacturers to discuss possible partnerships in building customized thermal hardware that will be affordable and the right fit for our use cases.
We officially incorporated as Kelvin Health Inc back in June. That allowed us to apply for EU funding under the Horizon2020 program in collaboration with ZAZ Ventures, one of Europe’s leading deep-tech innovation grant consultants.
Kelvin got a lot of attention from mainstream and specialized media. We’ve been interviewed both on national and international TV, in Forbes and Manager magazine, and got tons of positive feedback and support for the higher cause of Kelvin Health – spotting diseases before it’s too late.
Last but not least, we saw significant interest in Kelvin Health from the VC community. We started talking to interested VCs from the USA and EU and exploring opportunities to utilize outside funding to speed up data collection and further expand our work on both software (AI algorithms, mobile app) and hardware (thermal camera) part of our product.
In summer, we participated in the second cohort of the Growth Acceleration Program of the Bulgarian Innovation Hub, supporting Bulgarian startups in expanding into the USA market.
Shortly before the end of the year, our CTO, Georgi Kostadinov made us very proud by being selected as one of the 30 young Bulgarians under 30 years old contributing to society with excellence in their respective fields.
2020 was a year of new beginnings for us, full of challenges but even more significant opportunities. We start the new 2021 very optimistic, with great hope our efforts in building non-invasive, ready to be used at home, AI-driven thermal imaging solution will make the lives of millions of people easier and even save the lives of some.