Functional Noise Regularize Your Mind

The Original Biosensor Goal

I need a wearable, non-invasive, continuous blood pressure sensor. Also known as a cuffless blood pressure sensor. Simple as that.

I don't need this sensor personally, but for another person. I won't discuss exact details here since disclosing medical and personal details may negatively influence the future of this person. You can ask me in private about details.

I have about 5 years left. That's the timeframe I'm giving myself, because then the risk profile goes up. The blood pressure sensor may help in monitoring the condition, in order to take preventive actions to avoid death. It may also lower the need for blood pressure reducing medication, though that's unlikely to happen since the medication also has other beneficial effects on the condition. According to contemporary medical science there is no cure for the condition, so that's why I am only focusing on better monitoring.

I have been investigating and learning in my spare time the last years. I got the opportunity to start a related entrepreneurial project at my previous employer. I could not convince them to work on my original concept, since it involved too much sensor R&D and could never be finished in the 1-year timeframe of the project. Still I learned a lot.

So what did I learn in the past years?

  • Electronics

  • Firmware

  • Microcontrollers

  • (Wireless) communication protocols

  • Lots of software development

  • More signal processing and data analysis

  • More about entrepreneurship

  • Neurotech/Biosensor/Medtech market insights

  • Academic contacts in the above fields

  • Where to get money (crowdfunding, dutch investors and government subsidies)

  • How to motivate myself

  • How to motivate small teams

  • Large scale management and politics

  • How to blog and how to create a website

  • More pursuasive presenting

Some skills I've improved in only a little bit, like electronics, some significantly.

What did I not learn?

  • How to create the actual sensor.

Well not entirely true, I recall reading a PhD thesis years ago that seemed to have solved it. But I did not write a blog post about that, so I cannot easily find it back.

I found this possible thesis on the development of a wearable blood pressure monitor. But no, I remember another thesis. I recall it converged on a central body sensor, because that was more reliable, because the arteries near the heart are rigid while the ones in our arms are flexible and this somehow influenced the measurement unpredictably.

You see, now I'm tempted to dive into a literature study. To quickly check what the technical options are right now. But let's take a step back.

What are my paths to continue from here?

  • Make an overview of all wearable/cuffless blood pressure sensor research.

  • Get rich, influential and knowledgeable. Then make others build exactly what I want, fast.

  • Get more knowledgeable and a bit more (financially) independent. Then build at least one functioning prototype.

  • Babble Challenge. Write down 50 more ideas and see what comes up... Minimal time investment. Yes, do it now!

  • Search for existing overview article

  • Search a bit and call a few of the involved researchers

  • Search for existing startups or scaleups or big companies in this field. Then try to contact them.

  • Work less, maybe 4 days a week, use extra time to build prototype

  • Work more, pay someone else to do the research and development

  • Quit job, become blood pressure sensor researcher

  • Quit job, become entrepreneur, try to become rich, then solve problem

  • Quit job, become expensive consultant, earn 2-4x more. Then work only 2 days a week, spend other time on this project. Or work 5 days and use extra money to pay someone else.

  • Get fired somehow, so I have more payout compared to quitting

  • Start subsidized co-creation community with local partners, like hospitals, university and bio-sensor startups.

  • Start a group of volunteer engineers to tackle this together

  • Find a startup building my solution and invest in them.

  • Or join them as an employee, using my skills as engineer/software architect/manager to boost their progress. Join remotely if needed.

  • Monitor the world for solutions, buy when it becomes available. Hope it happens in time.

  • Make small business plan/pitch for this idea. Convince investors to work on this. Fund startup.

  • Or convince others to work on this. For example, influence a related Medtech startup to change course.

  • Convince a PhD working on this topic to start a company. Be the first customer.

  • Or join this startup as cofounder.

  • Change medical regulations so that it's easier to innovate in the field of medical technology.

  • Blog about this problem, hope someone else is inspired.

  • Give up

  • Accept I'm solving the wrong problem, do another Babble to find the real problem

  • Accept there are more important problems to solve and work on those.

  • Accept the problem is too big for me, solve a subset of the problem space.

  • Solve the technical sensor aspects

  • Get better at electronics

  • Get better at each required skill, one at a time

  • Make it easier for others to do sensor research

  • Make it easier to integrate and productize sensor wearables, e.g. by continuing further with BrainFlow

  • Bring more attention to the field of bio-sensors

  • Become a research grant manager, divert more funds to my cause

  • Lead by example, while risking failure, and inspire others to follow or take over.

  • Teach more engineers how to build bio-sensors and work with bio-sensors.

  • Manipulate my current employer to fund my project somehow

  • Get my high tech employer, or other investor, to pay for an educational project that inspires young engineers to solve my problem

  • Accept this is all a simulation, convince simulation maintainers to remove my problem (had to get this out of my mind)

  • Manipulate world incentives to nudge people into solving this problem.

  • Drop all current responsibilities, take savings as cash, flee from family and government, solve problem in low-cost country.

  • Pay person in low wage country to solve part of the problem.

  • Pay low wage person to make a wearable BP sensor research overview

  • Change my habits

  • Convince my wife and children to spend less time with me, to work more on this project in the weekend

  • Do whatever aspect interests me to keep myself motivated

  • Talk to many people, inside and outside this bio-sensor field. See if they have better ideas.

  • Anything to grow my network, hope I find the right people with the solution.

  • Continue babbling with myself.

  • Share this babble with other people, see if they have better ideas.

  • Just become more productive with my time in general.

  • Or become more focused, removing all other distractions.

  • Or become less risk averse.

  • Ask for help.

  • Edit: Do quick market size estimate. Is a startup worth it?

I'm out of ideas. Most of these ideas are about finding more time and money and influence and knowledge. Or balancing more optimally between them. Some of the options above I am already pursuing. Some are totally not an option. Can you guess which?

But perhaps I should switch strategy? Or choose a strategy that's most beneficial for all future scenarios? It's opportunity costs all the way down. I'll leave this choice for another post.