A Novel, Low-Cost Mobile Metabolic Measurement (M3) System

The Barron Associates Mobile Metabolic Measurement (M3) system is an indirect calorimetry system that measures minute ventilation (VE) (i.e., the volume of gas exhaled from the lungs per minute), carbon dioxide production (VCO2), and oxygen consumption (VO2), all measured in units of liters per minute using a subject-worn face mask. In an SBIR Phase I effort, the team demonstrated that the M3 system produced results that were statistically equivalent to the VacuMed Metabolic Simulator with Mass Flow Controller, a highly accurate and precise mechanical system that mimics human breathing. Tests in human subjects also showed that the M3 system was statistically equivalent to the Oxycon Mobile system, an indirect calorimetry system that costs in excess of $40,000.

The target application for the M3 system is cardiac rehabilitation, where the M3’s one button, turn-key, and calibration-free ease of use will enable its objective measures to replace currently-used subjective measures (e.g., 6-minute walking tests). Prior to the M3 system, indirect calorimetry has not been practicable in the cardiac rehabilitation setting (and most other clinical and sports settings) due to complexity-of-use issues with existing systems. The M3 system will also find use in many existing and new applications, such as guiding/monitoring nutrition, weight loss, and changes in cardiopulmonary fitness, diagnosing shortness of breath, and substituting for more expensive hospital cardiopulmonary exercise testing.

Barron Associates has been awarded US patent number US10271766B1 based on M3 technology, and a second patent filing is anticipated.