Khalifa University grants IP licence to Emirati startup

Twinkle Heart helps pregnant mothers monitor foetal heartbeat and the baby’s cardiac activity

UAE,Abu Dhabi,5 September 2017: Khalifa University , Vidhyaa for The National
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Abu Dhabi's Khalifa University of Science and Technology on Wednesday announced the licencing of its patented technology to a heart monitoring startup floated by an alumnus Emirati entrepreneur with a faculty member.

The intellectual property (IP) technology licence was given to the home-based monitoring device, the Emirati startup ‘Twinkle Heart’, helps pregnant mothers monitor foetal heartbeat and the baby’s cardiac activity.

The technology behind the product was developed by Dr Ahsan Khandoker, associate professor, Biomedical Engineering, and licensed to Advanced Research Projects, the start-up established by Biomedical Engineering graduate Saeed Alteneiji, and was incubated at Khalifa Innovation Centre (KIC).

Twinkle Heart comprises four foetal phonocardiogram (FPCG) sensors held on the maternal abdomen by a square fabric harness and elastic belts, making it easier for pregnant women to simply listen to their baby’s heartbeat and feel reassured.

Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, executive vice-president, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, said: "Khalifa University’s comprehensive role includes not only education, but also providing a successful and integrated academic journey in areas that serve the UAE’s strategic sectors. This enables graduate studies and innovations at our state-of-the-art research centres, while facilitating the creation of start-ups and commercialisation of patented technology with products targeting these sectors."

Mr Al Hammadi said it was a key milestone for the university towards successful commercialisation of a technology developed in its own research laboratory.

“It is also critical for the university to grant intellectual and patent rights to a startup led by an Emirati entrepreneur. We will continue to further exploit the commercial potentials of our IP and patent portfolios and contribute to the innovation ecosystem,” he added.

Dr Khandoker said: "It is rewarding to see this piece of my research work can further be progressed by a local start-up into a market product that can benefit the public."

The portable, low-cost, safe, and easy-to-use foetal screening device for use at home or pregnancy clinics by mobile phone and cheap sensors was originally planned to help medical doctors and midwives. The research results have already been demonstrated through several collaborating hospitals in the UAE and overseas.

Beyond its home-based application, the device’s portability makes it a solution for health workers in remote areas. Mr Alteneiji’s company Advanced Research Projects has a subsidiary MARP, established early this year, which will be responsible for this product.

Khalifa University currently has over 140 issued patents, with around 360 pending patent applications and more than 400 invention disclosures, while remaining as a leading contributor to the country’s patents portfolio.