LAS VEGAS – Behind the highly visible displays of success and influence in the healthcare space at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show — like UnitedHealth Group‘s two-part, walk-through exhibit space and Qualcomm’s ever-present sponsor signage — there were a few modest young companies showing off their innovative technologies.

Here are three that managed to catch my attention:


Fitness apps and devices dominated the Digital Health Summit, but one novel startup’s technology stood out by measuring biological data through the ear — one of the most sensitive parts of the body for monitoring bloodflow — and allowing exercisers to track data without using bulky or obtrusive devices.

Raleigh, N.C.-based Valencell’s V-LINC technology measures physiological data including heart rate, calories burned, metabolic rate and cardiovascular fitness through the devices placed in audio headsets and earbuds used to listen to music or talk on the phone. It then streams that data to computers or mobile device apps.

Founded in 2006, the company licenses its technology to partners that make audio headsets. Valencell has raised more than $6.5 million in venture funding including a recent series B investment led by Best Buy Capital.


Myomo Inc.

For patients who have lost mobility in their arms due to brain injury, stroke, MS or ALS, Myomo Inc. has developed the mPower 1000, a robotic arm brace with surface sensors, that facilitates muscle rehabilitation. When combined with innovative software applications and games, the device can to help individuals with partially paralyzed arms regain function at home.

Developed at MIT in collaboration with researchers at Harvard Medical School, the FDA-cleared device costs about $7,500. Myomo — short for my own motion — is an angel-funded startup based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Seal Shield

In our now touch-dependent world of technology, the spread of infections in the healthcare setting is as big a concern as ever. Seal Shield makes waterproof keyboards and mice that can be washed in the dishwasher and have built-in antimicrobial properties to avoid germs from spreading as doctors, nurses and administrators use them.

The Jacksonville, Florida-based company also makes a line of screen shield for iPhones and iPads that contain a silver-based antimicrobial product to prevent the growth of microbial bacteria, mold, mildew and fungi.

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