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The Noisy Guts Project

Technology Overview

The Noisy Guts Project  is dedicated to unlocking the gut’s secret language to diagnose and monitor common gut disorders. Our innovation is an acoustic belt that is worn around the stomach. The belt has multiple sensors that listen, record and analyse gut noises. These noises – called borborygmus [bawr-buh-rig-muhs] typically consist of rumbling, grumbling and growling sounds – many of which are inaudible, even to the gut’s owner. Using artificial intelligence, our wearable device recognises patterns from these noises over time – providing a unique insight into what is happening inside the gut. We use artificial intelligence to characterise gut disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome [IBS]. Our research has found that IBS has a unique sound signature and that this can be used for diagnosis and monitoring. Our wearable device will enable healthcare providers (General Practitioners, Gastroenterologists) to diagnose IBS accurately and confidently, ensuring that patients can get onto the right treatment pathway sooner. Our monitoring device (based on the same hardware) will help patients identify and monitor their symptoms and triggers at home. IP subsists in both software and hardware components. An Australian provisional patent application was filed in February 2018.

Technology Features & Specifications

Our wearable device will enable healthcare providers to diagnose IBS accurately and confidently, ensuring that patients can get onto the right treatment pathway sooner. Our monitoring device (based on the same hardware) will help patients identify and monitor their symptoms and triggers at home. While there is a growing interest in gut health, there is currently no product on the market designed to diagnose gut disorders using acoustic sensing technology. Biomarkers are now being used in research studies, but are proving unreliable. Breath-testing for intolerance to different sugars give a lot of false positives/negatives and does not directly correlate with IBS [Irritable Bowel Syndrome]. Our device uses a novel set of sound features uncovered through acoustic signal processing and machine learning. Unlike our competitor GI Logic's AbStats, we do not merely detect gut activity, but have identified the different gut noises that correlate with specific gut disorders. We have accumulated a unique and valuable library of gut recordings, something not routinely collected as part of normal medical practice. Over 300 volunteers have already worn our belt and our dataset will grow exponentially over time. Our preliminary studies have achieved promising results and we can currently diagnose IBS with 87% accuracy.

Potential Applications

Diagnostic test Used in General Practitioner clinics and pathology centres, our acoustic belt will give confidence to doctors and patients in an IBS diagnosis. There are over 66,000 and 895,000 new IBS diagnoses per year in Australia and the US respectively. Once we have Australian sales and achieved FDA 510k pre-market notification, we will license our technology to one of the big med tech companies interested in smart Healthcare - Diagonostics. Our strategic partner will have their own established US distribution and marketing channels. Their customers will be pathology clinics who will purchase belts and provide the diagnostic service. While patients are the end users, our partner will need to market to primary care physicians who are the key gatekeepers in the IBS diagnostic process. Monitoring service Our acoustic belt allows patients to objectively monitor their symptoms and identify triggers, so that they can work out which diets and treatment work best for them. In this case, patients will be able to go to one of 3,000 dieticians or 5,500 pharmacies to purchase or rent the belt, or purchase it online.  As there are 2.7 million IBS sufferers in Australia and over 400,000 visits related to IBS to Australian doctors each year, we know that these opportunities are large. Many patients are also referred to dieticians for structured long-term programs involving elimination or low-FODMAP diets. The belt will help patients identify which food groups trigger their symptoms.

Customer Benefits

IBS is a chronic and debilitating gut disorder causing pain, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation. It is a perplexing problem that plagues patients and healthcare providers because the cause is unclear and sadly, there is no cure. It affects 800 million people worldwide and has a significant impact on the quality-of-life of up to 11% of the world's population. Currently, there is no test on the market that can positively diagnose IBS. By offering a positive diagnosis of IBS, we anticipate our belt will replace colonoscopy and the process of diagnosis by exclusion for IBS for patients without any red flags for organic diseases. Our acoustic belt listens, records and analyses gut noises to decode the gut’s secret language to empower patients and improve gut health.

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