SA’s Open-Source ‘Metabolic Chamber’

Staff Writer | TechCentral | December 5, 2012

A Stellenbosch-based start-up wants to debunk health myths and offer researchers, and anyone else who’s interested, access to the data from its custom-built “metabolic chamber”.

In an ordinary-looking house at 18 Dennesig Street in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, a company called HealthQ Technologies has built a “metabolic chamber” — a device used for recording oxygen consumption and carbon-dioxide production for measuring human metabolic activity — using open-source principles.

The company plans to make much of the data from its research available for other researchers, or anyone else who wants to use it. The chamber will be used in the testing and development of health and fitness products and medicines. The team behind HealthQ includes engineers, computational systems biologists, mathematicians and biochemists and the company hopes to encourage interest in a multitude of fields.

Two of the project’s backers are US investor Thomas Kaplan and 4Di Capital, the venture capital fund that recently received investment from E Oppenheimer & Son. HealthQ isn’t saying how much investment it has received...