Royal Philips Electronics and QinetiQ have announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (mou) for joint technology development over the next five years.
The mou will see the two companies jointly developing some of QinetiQ’s technologies in order to bring them to the healthcare market. The first of these, a foetal ECG, will be incorporated into Philips’ foetal monitors.
QinetiQ’s new non-invasive technology is intended to measure the ECG and heart rate of the unborn child, including twins and triplets, and to detect some heart abnormalities.
QinetiQ’s foetal electrocardiogram (fECG) prototype was developed from signal processing technology that QinetiQ had originally developed for defence purposes.
Using this technology, the foetal heart signal is separated from the maternal signal and other background noise to allow abnormalities to be identified. The implementation of the technology is said to overcome the limitations found in earlier methods for measuring external foetal ECG.
Recordings on over 600 patients have taken place over the last 24 months at two London, UK hospitals, Queen Charlotte’s and Guy’s and St Thomas’. The detail in the heart signal produced by the system has already helped to identify a case of complete heart block.