When Collin Hill was 19, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
During his first semester at Penn, he’d travel to New York City every other weekend to undergo chemotherapy. Chemotherapy weakens your immune system, so every night, he’d have to monitor his temperature to make sure he wasn’t running a fever. Sometimes he’d wake up with a 104-degree fever and have to be rushed to the ER.
Two years later, Hill, a native of Greenwich, Conn., is in remission. But he was frustrated that there was no way he could keep track of his temperature throughout the night and get alerts when it was rising. So, along with a team of Penn students, he developed a wireless thermometer that could do just that.
Life Patch is a patch, like a Band-Aid, that goes under a child’s armpit and reads her temperature via infrared thermometer. It transmits continuous readings through a nano-bluetooth chip to any Internet-connected device, which then sends data to Life Patch’s cloud servers. The result is a constant update of a child’s temperature, which parents can see on a mobile app from anywhere in the world, according to Life Patch cofounder Aaron Goldstein.
That Life Patch is wireless and offers continuous temperature readings, rather than one-time readings, are two of its selling points over buzzy competitor Kinsa Health, a thermometer that plugs into your phone.
Life Patch has been certified by the Food and Drug Administration — not approved, which is a more complex process. The FDA certified the product because it uses a technology (infrared thermometer) that’s already been approved, said Goldstein, who is both Life Patch CEO and Penn junior.
The company plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign in mid-September, raising money to build and ship the first batch of devices by the end of the year.
Life Patch will retail for somewhere between $179 and $219, Goldstein said, but the earliest supporters will pay $119. The company is working with a manufacturer in China.
Meanwhile, the four-member team is participating in a number of programs:
- The University City Science Center’s Digital Health Accelerator (from which they received $50,000)
- Wharton’s Venture Initiation Program
- Founder.org, a remote student entrepreneur program founded by an industry vet who’s a Drexel and Wharton alum
- The team also graduated from the inaugural PennApps Accelerator class last year
Life Patch is also one of five student startups competing in Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2014 contest.
The team is a bit of a family affair, with recent Penn grad and Goldstein’s sister Becca Goldstein, 22, as COO and father Evan Goldstein as advisor. Evan Goldstein, a doctor, is also an advisor for Y Combinator pregnancy tracking app BellaBeat.
Rounding out the team are Hill, 21, and William Duckworth, 20, both juniors at Penn.
Life Patch plans to raise funding in 2015.