GOOGLE HAS announced the acquisition of Seattle-based health startup Senosis.
The company specialises in techniques to make our smartphones more useful at detecting and monitoring health conditions with no extra equipment.
Primarily aimed at heart monitoring, it allows phones to monitor heartbeat, but also blood makeup, such as hemoglobin counts.
The new acquisition would logically come under Google's parent company Alphabet's Verily subsidiary (it was so much easier when it was all just Google) which specialises in technology to help us live "longer and happier".
However, it appears that isn't the case, and it's as yet unclear whether the company will stand alone, become part of Google, or even join the firm's AI division DeepMind which has its own healthcare interests including the Streams patient data monitoring platform used in select London Hospital departments.
Senosis Health is the brainchild of serial tech entrepreneur Shwetak Patel, whose last company, an energy sensor company, Zensi was bought by Belkin, and won him a coveted MacArthur Genius Grant in 2011.
Patel has always been clear that he doesn't believe in the need for additional equipment beyond the smartphone for many body sensing techniques and so far his range of apps includes SpiroSmart, SpiroCall, HemaApp and OsteoApp. All are awaiting FDA approval.
It's a belief backed up by common use already - search your phone's app store and there is a range of apps which can use your phone's camera and flash to take an accurate heart rate.
Financial terms have not been disclosed, but as a company that has so far been bankrolled by entrepreneurs and health-tech angels, it's not entirely clear what the company's value is anyway.
However, to Google it could be a huge bonus both to their big-picture plans, and to the Android operating system, which needs that little extra kick to catch up with Apple's consumer offerings. µ
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