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Under The Microscope: Letizia Gionfrida

Following the first installment of our “Under The Microscope” column that looked into the life and work of tech mastermind Elon Musk, our second go at this is ready to introduce you to a woman that’s reshaping the health landscape as we know it. Letizia Gionfrida is a name that might not ring a bell right now, but it won’t take much time before you hear that name again and again. 

A Research Associate in the Bioengineering Department at Imperial College London, Letizia is yet another pioneer of the medtech revolution that’s taking place right under our noses. In one of our most recent articles, “Healthcare & AI: Just What The Doctor Ordered”, we examine and analyze the developing relationship between artificial intelligence and healthcare and as you can see, this subject will keep popping up in your news feed time and time again. 

With an MSc in Bioengineering from the University of Naples Federico II and stints at New York University and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Letizia spent a lot of time sharpening her AI education and skill set. From investigating a sonification method to enhance physicians’ performance in diagnosis to analysing spontaneous fluctuations in neural responses using neuroimaging techniques, Letizia has taken the long road to reach the point she’s at right now.

Arthronica

What’s the point she’s at right now? 

Heading one of the most interesting and promising startups in Europe. Arthronica uses artificial intelligence for patient monitoring and rehabilitation. Letizia came up with the idea when she was working in Singapore. At the time she was working on skin cancer detection using AI and smartphones. Returning back to the UK and starting her PhD at Imperial College, the idea started turning into a reality. Originally billed as a PhD project, a company was formed in 2018 to go on and win significant funding amongst other noteworthy milestones.


arthritis

The current method of monitoring arthritis requires patients to travel back and forth to the doctor, booking appointment after appointment. Considering the patient is suffering from arthritis, isn’t it ironic to ask them to go through pain and discomfort in order to treat and monitor the pain and discomfort?  

Arthronica addresses this exact paradox as the SaaS platform leverages a simple phone camera or webcam coupled with the magic and proficiency of artificial intelligence to remotely diagnose arthritis. All the patient has to do in the comfort of their own house is perform some basic movements in front of the camera before the footage gets sent to the cloud to be examined. The results are then sent back to the patient and the healthcare professional without the inconvenience of going back and forth to the practitioner’s office. 

The reason why Arthronica has become one of the hottest healthcare/AI companies is because it has achieved a lot in a relatively short period of time. The platform is already able to do a lot and the potential and promise of what it can achieve in the near future is scary. 

First and foremost, the platform is able to perform skeletal tracking with an already installed database of labelled frames matching the live image that is being uploaded, accurately tracking what’s on the screen. The second thing the platform is able to detect is force, measuring how much power a patient can exert against a specific object. Last but not least is 3D modelling which comes in handy when trying to measure the increase/decrease of a patient’s swelling and how they react to medication. 

Arthritis affects around 350 million people around the world and Arthronica seems to be paving the way for treatment and monitoring of chronic disease in general. The learnings and progress that Letizia and her team are able to showcase through their work with Arhtronica could be very well be duplicated in other areas of medicine. 

What Arthronica is doing for Arthritis is just one of many healthcare tech trends that are about to enter our lives in the not so distant future. Watch out for more remote diagnosing and treatment as well as the Uberization of Healthcare as a whole.