The monitoring of vital signs is an essential component in a patient’s healthcare. But numerous factors can diminish their accuracy and usefulness. In a hospital, for example, constant monitoring involves both time- and labor-intensive procedures—and this was before the added stresses and complications of COVID.
Xandar Kardian, a radar technology company with products serving a wide range of commercial uses, has taken on these challenges with its XK300 Autonomous Health Monitoring Solution. The system, which won FDA approval in 2021, works by continuously monitoring the vibrational frequency patterns generated by our bodies to detect and measure such vital signs as resting heart rate, respiratory rate, and physical motion. “This type of data is extremely powerful for physicians and clinicians,” says Sam Yang, Xandar Kardian’s cofounder and managing director. “It gives them consistent, reliable, and accurate information that they don’t have to second guess.”
The XK300 offers a much less invasive alternative as well. All the monitoring is done by a baseball–size sensor that is attached to a wall or mounted on a stand. It’s this creative—and potentially life-saving—application of radar technology that earned Xandar Kardian a spot on this year’s Fast Company list of the world’s Most Innovative Companies.
FIXING HUMAN ERROR
The idea behind the XK300 system began as a university research program exploring new-uses cases for radar technology. After several doctors approached Yang about its use in patient monitoring, his team discovered that this particular application made perfect sense. The company’s state-of-the-art sensors—using ultrawideband radar signals—can “see” through clothing and blankets. And they are not affected by lighting, temperature, or even a patient’s level of cooperation—all factors that hamper traditional methods of collecting vital signs.
This kind of high-level automated data collection significantly reduces the potential for human error. A nurse in the ER has one less worry, and doctors no longer have to worry that a post-op patient recovering at home might forget to report data collected on a wearable device. “If you require these things from the user, you may not get them,” Yang says. “And that’s when you get these massive gaps in the data stream, and that data becomes meaningless.”
A BIG IMPROVEMENT IN DATA QUALITY
Just as significant as the reduced risk of human error is the vast improvement in the volume and quality of collected data. Instead of the incremental daily measurements made during traditional bed-to-bed visits, the XK300 offers continuous around-the-clock monitoring. This results in high-quality data that might help healthcare teams identify when a patient’s heart rate is spiking or when their breathing becomes labored—all signs that an intervention may be necessary, though Yang is quick to point out that the system does not use AI to collect and determine vital sign data.
Xandar Kardian is currently focused on getting its technology in emergency rooms and skilled nursing facilities. In addition to measuring vital signs in healthcare settings, the company’s radar technology is being used in other areas, such as airports and office buildings where security can monitor human movement. Ultimately, however, it’s the healthcare applications that most excite Yang and his team. “We’re able to use a technology we built to not only improve quality of life,” he says, “but to actually save lives.”