Highland Innovation Centre Ltd (HIC) is a Scottish-based Medical Scientific device company which specialises in the design, development and commercialisation of consumer, clinical and research products. Founded by Dr David Watmough, HIC aims to deliver healthcare solutions that are effective and low cost.
David had an academic career which focussed on ultrasonic and optical means of interrogating biological tissues, especially the female breast. A principal health concern of women in Europe is breast cancer because roughly 1 in 8 women suffer from the disease in their lifetime. HIC developed the BreastChecker for use by women in the home to detect breast diseases early, when cure was more likely. HIC licensed the technology first to Wideblue Ltd whose directors set up PWB Health Ltd - this company developed Breastlight.
Now HIC have sought to improve the technology further and are raising funds to manufacture Breast-i. Development is underway on a clinical version of Breast-i combining light and Doppler ultrasound to interrogate a breast lump for presence of angiogenesis or neovascularisation. The presence of a life-threatening cancer requires development of a new blood supply to deliver oxygen and nutrients to facilitate rapid tumour growth. This feature causes both increased light absorption and an abnormal Doppler ultrasound signal.
When the first announcement was made about BreastChecker, HIC was approached to see if we could come up with a solution to detecting breast disease in turkeys. The Research Director of Cranberry Foods explained how Oregon Disease makes the meat of a turkey turn green or black, and if it occurs in birds supplied by supermarkets to the public can cause return of the bird and potential loss of the supply contract.
Cranberry Foods offered HIC a small grant to investigate the problem which led to a new product - the Oregon Disease Wand - only ever made in prototype form but supplied in the UK and abroad.
UltraStethoscope is a unique stethoscope developed by HIC, capable of operating through many layers of clothing. Conventional stethoscopes must usually be placed directly on the skin. The UltraStethoscope is a non-invasive device which simply collects sound emanating through a surface.
This advantage gives the device practical uses in many situations, including those where clothing cannot be removed, such as in the high cold mountain regions where undressing an injured climber or skier is very undesirable. Another possible use is to listen to the heart sounds of patients covered by bandages. The stethoscope has been identified to assist in Search & Rescue, where it would not be possible to remove patients' clothing.
Metal detecting is widely used as a hobby searching for buried historic treasure, and by the military searching for mines and shells. Usually the detectorist would be wearing headphones connected to the audio output of the control box. He would put the detector on the ground while digging a hole at the point where the signal is loudest. Time and time again the cord to the phones gets tugged and falls off. Sometimes detectorists dig through the headphone cable.
One of us at HIC took up detecting and found this problem all too frustrating so we set out to solve it. We produced a matchbox-sized radio transmitter which could plug into the detector's audio socket or be fixed to the detector shaft by Velcro patches. Then with radio headphones operating at 863MHz there was no longer need for the troublesome long cable.