Business: HSK Instruments
It was a call for help from a doctor at Brisbane’s Mater Children’s Hospital for a way to monitor the breathing exercises of children with cystic fibrosis that saw Elliot Smith, Jeremy Herbert and Gavin Kremor join together.
The trio has created Pepster, a system that uses a breathing device and smartphone and tablet apps to monitor respiratory physiotherapy in patients suffering breathing and lung conditions.
Smith and Herbert are electrical engineering graduates from the University of Queensland and are working towards PhDs, while Kremor is completing dual electrical engineering and commerce degrees at the same university.
“I’ve always liked this health stuff,” Smith says. “It feels like a worthwhile cause.”
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They started on Pepster as a thesis project following the approach from the doctor from the Mater Children’s Hospital. They formed their business, HSK Instruments, after their work won an award for “most commercially viable product” and were accepted into the Germinate program of the university’s ilab accelerator.
They’re currently focusing on cystic fibrosis, a condition that causes an excessive build-up of mucus in the lungs that can shorten lifespans of sufferers, and are preparing for a small clinical trial.
Smith says they also see Pepster being able to be used for other respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Smith says the apps they’ve created can teach respiratory exercises, measure their effectiveness and ensure they’re being done correctly. They’ve also created games that encourage children to achieve breathing exercise goals.
“To us, the biggest thing is seeing Pepster used by the people that really need it,” he says. “The biggest reward would be to see people using it and improving their quality of life.”