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Incora Health’s wearable health tracker looks to advance women’s fertility, wellness

The idea came to Theresa Gevaert while she was on the way to buy her first minivan. What if earrings could track a person’s internal body temperature?

Gevaert, a former executive producer for WYFF TV and at the time pregnant with her third child, was accustomed to taking her temperature every morning for natural family planning. This method uses core body temperature monitoring to track a woman’s menstrual cycle and determine when she is ovulating.“You’re trying to find your basal body temperature — the lowest body temperature at rest,” Gevaert said. “It’s not just skin temperature; I’m trying to get that core body. To get that reading, you really need a thermometer to go into a body cavity.”Gevaert said it can be a hassle to take one’s temperature each morning to track a menstrual cycle. Wearing health-monitor technology would be more efficient. Those on the market, however, are worn on the wrist or finger and can only read skin temperature.Wishing for a one-of-a-kind tool, Gevaert invented Incora Health earrings, a patented, wearable health tracker designed for women.

Becoming inventors

Gevaert and her husband, Matt, created a prototype of the smart earrings in late 2014 that consisted of a temperature probe connected to a headband battery and processor. The prototype helped prove that core temperature could be measured through an earlobe piercing.

“It was foreign to me in my background,” Gevaert said. “I’m a mom at this point and I was doing freelance journalism projects — nothing science-related.”

To protect her idea, Gevaert applied for a patent in 2015 with the help of Lindsey Calcutt.

Calcutt earned her doctorate in biomedical engineering from Clemson University and spent multiple years bringing new medical devices to the market. Frustrated by the struggles surrounding menstruation and fertility, she decided to focus on developing women’s health technology with Gevaert two years ago.

Gevaert and Calcutt founded Incora Health in March 2022. While both founders live in Greenville, the company’s product and app designers are located in California’s Silicon Valley.

To get the Greenville-based startup off the ground, around $1 million was raised from founders, family, friends, angel investors and state and federal grants.

Innovative Incora Health earrings

Incora’s smart earring automatically tracks a woman’s internal body temperature, heart rate, oxygen saturation, respiration rate and more.

This biodata is collected through sensors that measure the blood flow through the ear’s vascularized blood tissue, Calcutt said. The post of the earring holds temperature sensors that connect to the technology found under the earring’s pearl-like dome.

“Our sensors are based on light and the light will go in, read the blood and come back to the technology and tell the earring what’s going on,” she said.

Light sensors in other wearable health trackers must go through skin, bone and muscle to analyze the blood’s temperature. Calcutt says this can create inaccuracy with the measurement.

“We are in your ear lobe,” Calcutt said. “You don’t have bone. You don’t have muscle. You only have blood vessels.”

Health coach

The information collected from the smart earrings is presented to users on a free phone app. The data is transferred from the earrings in real time, allowing users to view their current and long-term health metrics.

“This has never been done before,” Calcutt said. “The health community has never real-time tracked menstruation — the whole cycle. So we’re creating really kind of that roadmap to help women’s health research.”

Multiple universities including HarvardYale and the University of California Los Angeles have expressed interest in using Incora’s earrings to form studies for various women’s health topics including mental health.

Every woman who wears the smart earrings also receives a personalized experience from the app’s generative AI technology. Gevaert says the software will be able to understand the user’s menstrual cycles and make predictions about her fertility after a couple of months of collecting and tracking data.

“We like to call it your health coach in your pocket,” Calcutt said. “We’re really not only just providing you these insights on your vitals, but the key is the personalization of your mental and physical health just to become healthier overall.”

Unmet need

Ten years have passed since Gevaert first had her idea. The technology is now undergoing final testing and is expected to be released in 2024. The smart earrings will be sold online for around $250.

Incora Health has partnered with Prisma Health and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville to complete its first clinical trial. The one-month trial is planned to start in March. A second clinical trial that will last three months will also be completed before the product goes on the market.

“We’re wanting to do this right,” Gevaert said. “I want women to be able to put this in and feel very secure, very competent because we’re talking about fertility.”

While the device will help to fill an unmet need, both co-founders understand there is a great opportunity to expand the device’s use in the future to serve more people. Calcutt said that for now, they are focusing solely on providing technology that is uniquely designed for menstruators.

Multiple uses for Incora Health earrings

Women who wear Incora Health’s smart earrings will be able to:

  • Track their menstrual cycle phases
  • Determine their fertility window each month
  • Monitor periods of high stress
  • Identify sleep patterns
  • Observe their activity data and trends

Behind the name

Lindsey Calcutt, co-founder and CEO of Incora Health, explained the “in core” in the company’s name highlights the core vital signs in a person’s body including their temperature and heart rate.

“Then we just put an ‘a’ on the end to make it feminine,” Calcutt said.

High-tech jewelry

Incora Health’s smart earrings design currently resembles pearl earrings. Theresa Gevaert, co-founder of Incora Health, said there will be more options for the earring’s design in the future to fit any woman’s style.

“We’re sensitive to the fact that earrings are a fashion statement,” she said. “We want to make sure if you’re wearing it, it’s beautiful.”

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Tamia Sumpter

Tamia is a driven senior undergraduate Bioengineering student currently enrolled at Clemson University. With a strong foundation in her field, she has honed her skills through hands-on experience in research and development at Eli Lilly & Company. During her time in the ADME department, Tamia contributed significantly by working on siRNAs and their applications in finding In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation (IVIVC). Looking ahead, Tamia has set her sights on a promising career in law. She aspires to specialize in Intellectual Property Law, with a particular focus on serving as in-house counsel for leading medical device or pharmaceutical companies. Her enthusiasm for this role is palpable as she prepares to embark on her legal journey! She is also a proud member of the Omicron Phi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., PEER Mentor for Clemson PEER/WiSE, and currently serves as the President of Clemson Bioengineering Organization (CBO). With her unique blend of scientific knowledge and legal interests, Tamia is poised to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare and life sciences industries.