STAT Health calls the human ear a “biometric gold mine.” The startup, which emerged out of stealth this morning, is talking specifically about cerebral blood flow (CBF). That’s pretty much what it sounds like: the blood supply to the brain measured over a specific length of time. A lack of blood flow to the brain creates all sorts of unpleasantness, like dizziness, fainting, headaches and “brain fog.”
If that last one in particular rings any bells, it’s likely due to ongoing conversations around the cause and symptoms of long Covid. It’s not a medical condition, but it pops up when discussing a variety of impairments. For some time, medical officials have believed that CBF can prove an important biomarker for understanding a variety of conditions.
That notion is foundational to STAT Health. The startup was founded in 2020 by Daniel Lee and Paul Jin, of Bose’s Health Product Innovation Group. Lee joined the headphone giant in 2016 after it acquired his smart earplug firm Hush, whose technology would form the foundation for Sleepbuds.
Backed by $5.1 million in seed funding from J2 Ventures and BonAngels Venture Partners (along with a U.S. Air Force grant), the new company has produced the STAT earpiece, a small wearable designed to monitor CBF in order to better understand how the measurement is related to conditions like long Covid, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) – often considered “invisible illnesses.”
“It’s well understood that the ear is a biometric gold mine because of its close proximity to the brain and major arteries,” Lee says in a release. “In addition, the ear is largely isolated from data corruption caused by arm motion – a problem that plagues current wearables and prevents them from monitoring heart metrics during many daily tasks. The ear is really the ideal window into the brain and heart.”
It occupies an interesting area, given that it’s neither a mainstream wearable like the Sleepbuds (or, for that matter, an number of VO2 max measuring watches/bands) nor a medical device. It’s also designed to offer insight into what is a relatively emerging segment of biometric measurements.
STAT is designed to be worn all day and night and is small enough to work with various earbuds. It also features solar charge, which can hypothetically mean you won’t have to take it out. The device opens for pre-orders today.