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Two women in the Upstate helping develop smart earrings

GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) – You’ve heard of smart watches and smart phones, but soon there could be a smart earring on the market. It could have the ability to measure a women’s fertility, menstrual cycle, sleep and more. The inventors live right here in the Upstate.

Lindsey Calcutt and Theresa Gevaert are co-founders of  Incora Health. They have been dreaming of a technology like this for years because they understand the benefit it could offer women.

“I was using natural methods to manage my fertility and that really entails tracking your ovulation through temperature,” Incora Health co-founder Theresa Gevaert said.

A woman’s body temperature often rises slightly when ovulating so women often use this as a measurement for when they are fertile and when they are not.

“I just hated having to wake up and put a thermometer in my mouth every day,” Geavert said. “And I wanted a way to do that which would be precise, but effortless.”

Lindsey Calcutt’s reason for starting this project was due to her postpartum journey as a mother.

“My first one I actually had to get a blood transfusion,” Calcutt said. “I bled out, and fainted. I could not do skin to skin with my daughter. My second one I was back in the ER on Christmas Eve because every time I would stand up I would faint.”

Both women started harping on the idea of a better option to monitor their health. As a Clemson University PhD graduate in bioengineering Calcutt had an idea.

“The pulse and a couple other vital signs in the ear lobe are pretty accurate,” Calcutt said.

They worked with designers in Silicon Valley to develop a smart earring that connects to an app on your phone.

“It is done through wearable technology done off a light sensor,” Calcutt said. “The light beam goes directly to your blood vessels and comes back and reads what is going on with your blood.”

Fox Carolina asked how they could ensure their technology works. Calcutt said soon they will be putting it to the test.

“We are going the extra step and doing clinical trials that are not necessarily needed to start selling the product,” Calcutt said.

Now they are partnering with USC School of Medicine Greenville and Prisma Health.

“What excites me about this particular project and technology is that it is a way to give people more information about their health,” Prisma Health OBGYN Dr. Katie Isham said. “I think when we arm people with data they can make better decisions about their healthcare.”

They hope to start clinical trials on the earrings in May.

“We are in the process of getting approval by the institutional review board,” USC School of Medicine Greenville Dean Marjorie Jenkins said. “They have to approve any human subject research.”

Dr. Jenkins says this clinical trial will also give medical students hands-on experience with advanced bio-technology.

“We have really brilliant medical students here,” Jenkins said. “98% of our students do research. We usually have 15-20% of our class going into OBGYN. So it was really nice to be able to bring that opportunity to some of the students.”

If everything goes as planned they see a lot of potential for variations in the future.

“In the future, we have the technology to make it a hoop, or a dangle or a stud,” Calcutt said. “So we have optionality to really tab into the creativity of what a woman would want to wear for her earring.”

Incora Health and USC are still waiting for final approval to do the clinical trials, but they are looking for participants who can start once they get approval. To learn more click here.

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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.