Life-saving hospital tech in next phase thanks to UK prototype specialist

A new medical device that could prevent worsening illness and loss of life is about to be trialled in hospitals in Norway, thanks to manufacturing support from a leading UK custom prototype specialist.

Product lead and co-founder of the company Tord Åsnes wearing the Evo device
Product lead and co-founder of Moon Labs, Tord Åsnes, wearing the Evo device

The Evo System monitors the vital signs of hospital patients using a relatively unobtrusive and cost-effective device fitted behind the ear, which feeds real time data back to medical professionals who can intervene when a patient’s health is deteriorating.

The prototype was first developed by Norway-based Moon Labs who were granted the European Cool Idea Award by UK company, Protolabs.

Moon Labs was looking for a way to develop the discrete disposable bio sensor in larger numbers for pilot testing and clinical trials in Norway. With support from technicians at Protolabs, Moon Labs was able to understand Evo’s suitability for injection moulding and receive advice on medical grade plastic.

After an initially successful production run, Evo System will be trialled in three hospitals in Norway, at which point Moon Labs hopes to gain CE marking – indicating Evo’s conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards – so it can manufacture the technology by early 2021.

“Developing new medical devices takes time and is heavily regulated. Without the support of the European Cool Idea Award, the cost of funding this next stage of development could have proven prohibitive for us,” said Moon Labs co-founder and product lead, Tord Åsnes.

The Evo System

  • The Evo Sensor is a small disposable bio sensor fitted behind a patient’s ear, measuring heart and respiration rate and oxygen saturation continuously for up to five days
  • The Evo Gateway then transmits the data to a patient’s electronic journal
  • The Evo Central software then enables medical staff to track multiple patients’ vital signs over time and calculates early warning scores to highlight any health concerns

“While patients in intensive care are monitored regularly, we must not forget that those people in general care in the hospital are also very ill people,” said Nils Kristian Skjærvold, medical director for Moon Labs and senior consultant at St Olav’s hospital in Norway.

The Evo System developed by Moon Labs and supported by Protolabs
The Evo Gateway, developed by Moon Labs and supported by Protolabs

“Our challenge was to find a cost-effective way of monitoring patients in general wards or rooms so if their health deteriorates we can take corrective action immediately. It will help prevent people moving into intensive care, or worse, losing their life,” he added.

Moon Labs had already prototyped Evo System using its own 3D printing technology. The European Cool Idea Award then enabled the Norwegian-based company to upload its CAD designs into Protolabs’ Design for Manufacturability analysis software to check its fitness for injection moulding.

“Working closely with their team, the company helped us develop the system for manufacturing, advised us on the best medical grade plastics to use and then produced an initial production run which will be used for our pilot testing and clinical trials,” said Åsnes.

Peter Richards, director of marketing and communications at Protolabs, said the company was “delighted” to support Moon Labs in their product development process.

“With the medical sector being one of the key industries supported by Protolabs, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience to bring to the table. And the Evo System project is what the Cool Idea Award is all about: helping applicants across Europe get great ideas off the ground,” he added.

Award-winning

Protolabs took home the trophy for  Achieving Customer Value (sponsored by Trust Hunter Ltd [Hunter]) at The Manufacturer MX Awards 2019.

The ceremony and gala dinner took place at Exhibition Centre Liverpool on the evening of 14 November.

Click here to view the full list of 2019 winners

By Rory Butler, Staff Journalist

*Images courtesy of Protolabs and Moon Labs