Intermed, Ayyad Khan, Arsham Zarei

Ayyad Khan (left) and Arsham Zarei at Intermed with the Smart-box that they hope health authorities in different countries can use to uncover epidemics on the rise. Photo: Gunhild M. Haugnes/UiO

A new, cloud-based thermometer could predict epidemics

A "Smart-box" equipped with an electronic thermometer and network technology is ready to be tested in Ethiopia. The entrepreneurs hope it will help predicting and stopping epidemics.

"We wish to improve the life and health of people - aided by cloud based technology and artificial intelligence (AI)", says Arsham Zarei. Toghether with Ayyad Khan and Inven2 (the University of Oslo's commercialization unit) he has founded the company Intermed.

The company first got into research on epilepsy and how the fits can be envisaged - and also the use of AI in medicine.

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Fever and fatigue

Now they are focusing on developing technology which at an early stage can detect if a virus is about to become an epidemic or a pandemic - from a simple flu to more severe viruses like zika and ebola.

Generic to different viruses is fever and fatigue.

"Fatigue can be a diffused symptom, but fever is a lot easier to measure", says Zarei, who holds a bacelor's degree in informatics at the University of Oslo (UiO). Co-founder Ayyad Khan is still in medical school.

Intermed has developed a thermometer which will be in direct contact with a central "backing" system via the mobile network and cloud based technology - so-called Cloud Computing.

Up for testing in Ethiopia

The "Smart-box", which is equipped with an electronic thermometer and network technology specified by Intermed, is built by the company Inventas, founded by students at NTNU (the Norwegian University of Science and Technology). It is aimed at developing countries.

"This prototype is now up for large scale testing in Ethiopia", says Zarei.

Intermed is cooperating with the Regional research fund, Oslo & Akershus, but are searching for new partners to be able to continue their project.

Zarei says they dream of cooperating with the likes of Gates Foundation or Médecins Sans Frontières, but also departments at UiO and other universities that are dedicated to technology and health.

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