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Baracoda Wants To Turn Bathrooms Into HealthTech Hubs

How an unheralded French startup has spent 20 years tinkering its way toward a digital healthcare revolution.

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Thomas Serval, CEO of Baracoda Group, stood in front of the bathroom mirror that looked like it could be a featured gadget in a near-future science fiction movie like Minority Report. The Artemis, as it's dubbed, provides a semi-transparent interface on the mirror that can be primarily controlled with hand gestures so fingerprint smudges won't cover the surface.

The smart mirror is the centerpiece of Baracoda's vision for the "Bathroom of the Future" which it believes can become the hub of a daily preventative healthcare routine.

Using a combination of facial recognition technology, computer vision cameras, Augmented Reality, and AI, the Artemis tracks the color and quality of a person's skin to detect possible anomalies like moles or other clues to bigger health problems. It can measure eye vision and other bodily changes through 360-degree image capture, host telemedicine calls, and play beauty videos right on the mirror for grooming, beauty, and makeup tips.

The mirror runs on the CareOS platform built by Baracoda, and interfaces with its BConnect Hub that allows other connected devices to plug into the home healthcare ecosystem by using the BConnect interoperability protocol. That includes Baracoda's own BBalance connected bath math that uses AI and footprint recognition to track foot size, problems with posture, and weight. In short, Baracoda is a deeply technical company that is creating all the hardware and software aspects of its products.

The philosophy behind all of this digitization is that the bathroom is the center of people's self-care routines. By creating a system that passively collects health data, the bathroom can become a powerful station for preventative care.

The digital bathroom remains a long-term vision for Baracoda, something that may be interesting for pharmacies in the medium term or Japanese hotels. Otherwise, the array of underlying software and hardware is, as much as anything a demonstration of the technical prowess and ambition of this relatively unheralded French startup that has spent 20 years tinkering its way toward greatness.

Founded originally to create various consumer electronics components, Baracoda is poised to leverage its complex and self-funded business model to expand its influence in the digital health sector. As Covid accelerated digital transformation, Baracoda wants to seize the moment to become a more influential player in the digital health sector.

"We have been able to turn this into a framework for innovation," Serval said. "Now we have all the tools to scale."

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