YSpace startup receives $2M to develop health-care technologies for space travel

View of the Earth from space

By Diana Senwasane, student and community engagement coordinator, YSpace

A YSpace-supported startup has been awarded $2 million by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to develop new health-care technologies designed for astronauts during space flight and for people living in remote communities across the country.

Phyxable, a virtual physical therapy platform, was one of five companies selected earlier this year by the CSA for their Health Beyond Initiative, which aims to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for remote health-care delivery.  

The Phyxable Advanced Medical Pod prototype, currently located north of Brampton, Ont.

As space flights go further and become lengthier, access to medical care becomes challenging, with problems such as delays in telecommunication, medical emergencies and restocking supplies proving increasingly difficult.

The CSA initiative is focused on building state-of-the-art medical technologies that can all be contained in a mobile structure, called the Connected Care Medical Module (C²M²). Phyxable’s version of the C²M² prototype, known as an Advanced Medical Pod, is fully autonomous, and uses equipment operated by artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and more.

Jim Feng
Jim Feng

“Our pod is essentially alive,” says Jim Feng, CEO and founder of Phyxable. “It can do extraordinary things remotely, like medical imaging, ultrasounds, live communication via voice and text. We can do it all with data reporting directly into the Phyxable platform.”

Developed with support from its partners, Micron Digital and WizCraft Design, the Advanced Medical Pod uses a core computer system to connect advanced devices and collect medical data.

C²M² is intended to be a plug-and-play system that allows users to independently detect, diagnose, treat and monitor health conditions on site, which can improve the timeliness, quality and cost of transporting patients from remote regions to urban hospital facilities.

“It’s all about empowering the individual to take charge of their own health care, says Feng. “This is exactly what Phyxable was created to do. We want the user to be able to have all the tools to effectively manage their own health, whether it be on Earth or beyond.”

Although the modules will initially be tested and used for the first five years in remote communities, it is anticipated to be used in space in the years to come.

“With applications beyond Earth, we will be able to use our innovative technologies to essentially allow astronauts to manage their own health,” Feng says. “It will be a monumental stride in the way health care is delivered.”

Phyxable’s version of C²M² has completed its testing phase and will be showcased at the Canadian Space Agency.

Since its conception in 2017, Phyxable has been supported by York University’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub YSpace, through mentorship, connections to investors and undergoing an intense, four-month accelerator program designed for technology startups.

The startup has since grown, impacting over 5,600 patients and establishing partnerships with companies like League Insurance, Right at Home and Shoppers Drug Mart.