Healthtech takes centre stage at IFA

IFA 2023 in Berlin showcased game-changing healthtech, from menstrual blood analysis to breath training and more.
Healthtech takes centre stage at IFA

Every year at IFA, healthtech is up front and centre, with health and fitness tracking embedding itself into all kinds of health devices, including watches and apps. 

This year's show was no different. But hardware is hard. Companies must refine multiple prototypes, conduct user testing, and get that all-important app store presence.

IFA 2023 featured a noticeable decrease in the diversity of health tech startups compared to previous editions, with a significant overrepresentation of Korean and German startups. As a result, it only captured a fraction of Europe's thriving innovation landscape.

But here are a few companies you should have on your radar:

Youth Healthtech (Germany)

Youth Healthcare
Digital-first health checkups. Image supplied by Youth Healthcare

How do you get a digital-first population who are unwilling (or can't afford) regular doctors checkups for preventative care into caring about their health?

YOUTH is an app that uses data collected from smartphone sensors and machine learning to make prevention easily accessible. 

With a face video, audio recording, and an eye picture, YOUTH can screen over five organs and get deep insights into each organ's health with more than 15 health indicators, detecting early signs of health risks for multiple organs, including brain, metabolic, cardiovascular & mental health.

With this information, YOUTH creates a personalised prevention plan with individual goals to optimise user health. 

Everything is trackable within the app, and data will be shareable with health professionals. 

The company is currently seeking beta testers. 

Theblood (Germany) and MyPeriod Test (Germany) 

my period test
Menstrual blood can provide valuable health insights. Image source: My Period Test.

Traditionally, menstrual blood was seen as nothing more than a waste product without any real value. 

However, menstrual blood can be analysed, providing insights about the female body. 

Two companies theblood and  My Period Test are developing home testing kits that menstruating people can use to test their menstrual blood for different parameters from the comfort of their own homes.

In reality, when it comes to health analytics, menstrual blood is largely an untapped resource — it's an alternative to drawn blood for health tests. Also, it has the potential as an early diagnostic tool for diseases such as endometriosis, cervical cancer, and more. 

It also helps close the gender data gap while reducing the negative stigma associated with menstruation.

Airofit (Denmark)

Airofit offers a daily work out for your lungs. Image source: Airofit

Cardiorespiratory fitness is a huge part of increasing stamina and duration for people who play sports and dedicate a sizable amount of time to exercise. By increasing your breathing muscles' strength, speed and efficiency, you gain more endurance and a higher pace and lower your exercise perception.

Airofit offers a daily workout for your lungs by controlling and measuring how much air enters and leaves your lungs. 

A wearable device (the breathing trainer) provides resistance to your breathing muscles and vital lung capacity. At the same time, the corresponding mobile app gives you live feedback and guidance through exercises and the ability to track your progress.

The device mainly benefits endurance athletes in sports like running and cycling. 

However, while I'm no athlete, I was born with asthma, take medication daily, and am terrible at lung function tests. So, yours truly will try out the device over the next few weeks and report back. 

The Airofit Active retails for €129.00 and the Airofit PRO 2.0 for €349.00.

The company has also developed a medical-grade device specifically for asthma and COPD patients, which it plans to roll out in the coming months. 

Athana (France)

Athana's handheld device provides relief from hot flushes. Image source; Athana.

Over eight million French women are affected by hot flushes- 80% of women between 45 and 55. Fortunately, the body has several thermoregulatory zones — including the chest, wrists and neck — which allow optimal body temperature regulation. 

Athana was founded by Thaddée, after witnessing his mother suffering from hot flushes. The company has developed a small portable device based on cryotherapy offering instant cold therapy for targeted relief.

A corresponding app enables the user to vary the temperature for effectiveness.

While the device targets middle-aged women, I can also see it being hugely popular with many groups, especially those who travel regularly on hot, stuffy public transport. 

Athana is supported by many players in the French tech ecosystem, winning multiple health innovation awards.

The device is priced at €129.00 and can be pre-ordered. 

Vaha (Germany)

Vaha exercise mirror.
This takes exercising with friends to another level. Photo by Vaha

Using a mirror for personal training sounds like something at best narcissistic and at worst bizarre, but it's a trend that has gained traction over the last few years, fueled by people working out at home during the pandemic.

Vaha works like a virtual personal trainer with more than 200 different digital workouts catering to all exercise styles and goals, including toning, cardio, strengthening, and mobility.

Users can book personalised training sessions from the comfort of their living room with trainers who connect live to the mirror. It also offers streaming classes around the clock, where users within the online community can train together. All workouts are digitally accessible and have been designed by qualified fitness experts.

Lead image via My Period Test.

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