MC10 pushes wearable sensors with Medtronic co-sign

MC10 and Medtronic are developing a balloon catheter that can monitor heart function.--Courtesy of MC10

Massachusetts' MC10 has developed a stretchable, sensor-laden technology you can wear, allowing for vital readings on the go, and with big-name backers like Medtronic ($MDT) and Reebok, the company believes its innovation could revolutionize mobile health.

BioStamp, MC10's smaller-than-a-Band-Aid device, provides full-time monitoring of signs like heart rate and brain activity, streaming the data to a user's smartphone or physician, Bloomberg reports. The company expects to get the technology on the market in the next 5 years, figuring it can sell it for about $10 a pop.

But the baseline technology has applications far beyond consumer devices, the company said. MC10 has partnered with Medtronic, which led its $18 million Series C in April, to apply BioStamp's capabilities to a traditional balloon catheter. By integrating flexible sensing technology to the inflatable device, physicians will be able to collect data on heart function and diagnose vascular problems while propping open vessels, MC10 co-founder Benjamin Schlatka told Bloomberg.

"Today's catheters don't have the kind of electronics that we take for granted in many of our consumer devices," Schlatka said. "By adding that intelligence, doctors can make better decisions about how they are performing the procedure."

MC10 has raised more than $40 million since launching in 2008, and the company is soon to start cashing in on its innovation. Through a partnership with Reebok, MC10 has developed the Checklight, a tiny sensor that can be tucked into a football helmet to detect velocity and impact, and the pair plans to start marketing the technology this year.

The device could go a long way toward predicting and diagnosing concussions, MC10 said, which are the subject of swirling concern and controversy in the NFL. Earlier this year, the league kicked off a $50 million joint effort with GE Healthcare ($GE) to develop concussion-detecting imaging technology.

- read the Bloomberg story