We spoke to Kyle Berean co-inventor of Atmo Gas Capsule, a swallowable temperature and gas detecting tablet set to replace invasive colonoscopies.
Atmo was initially developed as a method to solve the methane emission problem in cattle but it was quickly realised that it could play a role in medical diagnosis and potentially save lives.
What is your health innovation? What does it aim to do?
At RMIT University and Atmo Biosciences, we have developed a low-cost and non-invasive medical device called the “Gas Sensing Capsule” which gathers digital health data on the gases in the gut. These gases are used as biomarkers to help us understand the communities of microorganisms that live inside of you. These communities can tell us lots of information about the health of the gut and aid in the diagnosis of gastrointestinal disorders.
How do you celebrate and showcase your successes? Who is the first person you tell?
To celebrate milestone achievements I take time out to enjoy the moment and reflect on what it’s taken to get me here. Sometimes just a nice meal out or time spent with a friend. The first people I usually tell are the two most important women in my life. My girlfriend and my mum. They are the two I celebrate the successes with and commiserate the failures with.
What challenges have you come up against in developing your health innovation? What motivated you to keep going?
Coming from an academic institution comes with advantages but also many unique challenges. I get the freedom to explore the previously unexplored, but there is a constant search for the funding to allow this. As a person who suffers from a gut disorder myself, I have a personal motivation to get this into the hands of the people who need it most. The reason we do this — the patients.
What is one thing the public could do to help your innovation to succeed?
There has been a real lack of innovation within gut health diagnostics for a long time. I think this is mainly due to the stigmas associated with the topic. I would like for the public to break down a lot of the barriers by discussing these problems openly. One in five people will suffer during their lifetime. That is a lot people staying silent.
What are the benefits of developing your innovation in Australia?
Australia has a very unique medtech ecosystem. We have always punched well above our weight in this space. There is a strong, committed community of experienced developers, entrepreneurs, investors, and organisations like Planet Innovation who are helping to commercialise the gas capsule. The Australian government is also very willing to help out others to achieve the greater good for all Australians.