5 Award-Winning Medical Device Innovations for Unmet Needs, featuring Sana Health

There are many factors innovators in medtech share. They all seek to offer elegant and novel technologies. They often take advantage of smart, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning advances. They look to reduce costs. But by far the factor that defines exceptional medtech products is their ability to pinpoint an unmet need in the healthcare chain and respond with a solution that makes sense.

We explored the finalists in Los Angeles–based Medtech Innovator’s MedTech Innovation Awards with an eye toward how they approach these unmet needs.

Sana Health Opts for smart pain relief

When Richard Hanbury was 19, he crashed his jeep and broke his back. Doctors gave him a 5-year life expectancy due to the severity of chronic nerve damage pain. Now, Hanbury is the CEO and founder of Sana Health, which won first prize at the Medtech Innovator Awards in 2018. (Read our in-depth interview with him.)

The award-winning technology is Sana, a non-invasive mask that aims to alleviate severe pain problems, including neuropathic pain. The device measures and tracks a user’s overall state of health and vitality over time and uses this measure to tailor the device to stimulate deep relaxation and reduce pain levels within 10 minutes. Light and sound stimulation guide the brain through a sequence of patterns to induce a deep, natural relaxed state. A heart-rate variability (HRV) sensor embedded in the forehead of the mask allows monitoring of the nervous system, which enables the mask to tailor audio-visual stimulation and tracks overall well-being.

The company said its technology is based on 24 years of research and 700+ individual trials of EEG-based research. Clinical trials are scheduled for late 2018 with Mount Sinai Hospital, data analysis with Stanford Sleep Labs and PTSD with the U.K. military. The plan is for the device to be available to the general public in 2019, following FDA certification.