Startup of the Week

OnSight: in pursuit of innovating the Cardiac world

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Every week, the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute elects a Startup of the Week (SOTW). We then invite the founders of these startups to share a blog post with our community. These posts can be inspirational, educational, or entertaining. Founders can share founding stories, resources, lessons, or any other topic of their choice. 

This blog post was written by the team at OnSight, co-founded by Achiau Ludomirsky (Pediatric Cardiologist at NYU Langone Health).

Every physician has a love-hate relationship with a medical condition, one that is more challenging, tough to treat, or very harmful to their patients. For Achiau Ludomirsky, MD, Pediatric Cardiologist at NYU Langone Health, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is it. HCM is a condition in which the heart becomes thickened without a known cause, and at its worst, it may cause heart failure and even sudden cardiac death. Twenty-three-year-old Hank Gathers, a basketball star at Loyola Marymount University in LA, whose sudden death made headlines after the young athlete collapsed during the semifinals of the 1990 WCC Tournament, brought HCM to the public awareness. Now imagine that every school or college nurse had a simple way to use an ultrasound device which would allow them to perform an echocardiography on all students and detect abnormalities; those students could then be referred for further workup with a Pediatrician and a Cardiologist to receive treatment as needed.

Every electronic and computer science engineer has a love-hate relationship with a scientific challenge, one that is hard to crack and requires applying out-of-the-box thinking with a good amount of tech savviness. One that makes them skip meals and chase rabbits down the hole. For Co-Founders Itay Kezurer and Prof. Yaron Lipman from the Applied Math and Computer Science Department in the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that enables real-time expert level ultrasound scans without expert level experience and training was that kind of challenge. Using Geometrical Deep Learning, they designed a computerized 4D model of the heart. If the 4D model could potentially provide valuable diagnostic information to Cardiologists and improve patient care, it would be a great cause for pouring blood sweat and tears over complex algorithms and mathematical models.

Luckily, in 2015, the paths of the physician and engineers crossed and they married the passion for improved patient care with technology prowess, in pursuit of innovating the Cardiac world.  Their journey started with the simple question - what if we could? What if we could detect heart malformations early? This simple question pointed the team to the bottlenecks in many of the echocardiography departments across the US, as well as the long waiting lists. The next obvious question was what if we could shorten the echocardiography time? By using AI, the team could shorten the image acquisition process. What else can be challenged in the realm of echocardiography? Could they put this device under less experienced hands? Yes. However, it will require additional software capabilities to provide guidance for the untrained “sonographer”, so they could properly hold the handheld transducer. The software will also need to assess image quality and instruct the user to retake images or change position as needed. Who could benefit from these developments? Patients in places with limited access to hospitals or specialists such as rural areas, underserved regions, and underdeveloped countries. 

After working on a proof of concept, OnSight Medical was founded in 2018. Fast forward to 2020, OnSight Medical is making significant strides towards its goal of enhancing and expanding access to cardiac ultrasound to underserved populations. Most recently, the company won the TCT 2020 Shark Tank Innovation Competition. This competition took place during the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) - the world’s premier educational meeting specializing in interventional cardiovascular medicine. Based on criteria including unmet clinical need, technology differentiation, IP position/viability, biological proof of concept, regulatory pathway, and commercialization potential, OnSight surpassed the six finalist companies and won the award.

OnSight Medical’s technology is currently being developed. To learn more about the company and to subscribe to company updates, head to