Tomorrow’s technology : Wearable technology and Digital healthcare
Time is past when all the health related gadgets we get to see appear only in movies- James Bond to mention- in today’s world wearable technology has gone from a thing of fiction to reality and is improving and spreading at a very fast pace. According to many researchers wearable technology will enable the successful implementation of telehealth. As it currently stands about eight million people in the UK already use some form of wearable technology and many of these are wellness or health related devices such as heart rate and different activity monitors. While we marvel at the wearable gadgets that companies such as Nike, Apple, Fitbit and Jawbone have recently developed and brought to market, gadgets that can record our heart rate, calories expended, and distance covered, one can only think of how this technology could likely be used on a greater scale to help those who truly need it the most in our world today. People with chronic medical illnesses such as emphysema, diabetes, or congestive heart failure are bound to gain a lot from such gadgets. While today’s wearable tech movement got its start with Nike technology, which began as sensors in running shoes designed to track its wearer’s performance, which was in 2006, when Nike and Apple teamed up on the first of its kind killer collaboration for a wearable technology, the Nike+iPod Sport Kit. Smart watches, health monitors, Pedometers, activity trackers and virtual reality headsets are all part of the emerging landscape of wearable technology which promises to change the way we exercise, communicate and live.
A recent article by J.C Herz in Wired Magazine provides us with an excellent beginning point to do just that which is recognize how we, as a society, have yet to harness such powerful and innovative technology to help millions with chronic medical illnesses suffer less, as things currently stand, which Herz eloquently outlines in her essay, existing companies’ wearable technologies has for the most part been utilized by tech lovers and athletes who marvel in tracking personal health data but not ultimately benefiting the society at large.
Google came out with its own tech trick, the Google Glass, a slightly cumbersome-looking eyewear that functions as a wearable computer when paired with a Smartphone that has a reliable cellular connection to the Internet.
HOW WEARABLE GADGETS COULD HEALTHCARE
These gadgets can go a long way in helping people lead healthier lives, manage certain medical conditions and improve access to care; these wearable technology or tech tricks can play a key role in reducing the primary care bill of patients. As the primary care system in different countries costs the taxpayers billions each year a lot these tech tricks that engages patients and helps them manage their own symptoms can make a significant difference. Also, wearable technology could easily prove very useful for people with heart failure which is one of the most common causes of admission to hospitals today and as such relieve the strain on overcrowded hospitals.
SMART LIGHTER TO HELP SMOKERS KICK HABIT
When the smart lighter Quitbit launched it initially sounds like the device would promote smoking rather than decrease it, what Quitbit actually does is track a person’s smoking habit so the user can see how many sticks of cigarette he or she smokes in a day and how long since the last one was lit, this way smokers get to be conscious of the fact that smoking poses to their health. Surprisingly, the Quitbit is smart enough to know if someone borrows it, and can be tracked with an application to prevent misplacement or theft of the device. It is a rechargeable lighter and uses a heating coil to light up cigarettes.
JABRA’S HEART RATE TRACKING EARBUDS
The Jabra Sports Pulse Wireless Earbuds comes with an inbuilt biometric heart rate monitor that tracks and evaluates your workout regime. This little tech trick is a smart fit for anyone who’s training for a marathon or other high-intensity activity.
This is a brain-sensing headband known as the Muse, it works with a series of calming exercises that are supposed to chill you out in a few minutes and yet give you the effects of participating in a 30-minute yoga session. The Muse syncs with an app and focuses on training your breathing, so you can unwind from anywhere, from the office to an airplane. And it actually works as it has been tested and we felt the results after just one three-minute session with the headband.
Companies are partnering up and large investments are been put in place by conglomerates with deep pockets as the market for these new innovations keeps increasing. While most players in the business have focused largely on the activity-tracker craze, the major revelation is that opportunity and impact of wearable health is only just beginning of greater things to come, not only is the movement toward consumerism in healthcare and the leading tech companies of our time shepherding us here, but a growing force of early stage innovation is completely rethinking how wearables can change the health and improve the wellness of people.
Google is partnering with Novartis to develop a smart contact lens having the potential to monitor and track the wearer’s blood sugar levels a smart contact lens that measures glucose. Google described it as a LED system that could warn wearers of high or low blood sugar by flashing tiny lights.
Oxitone made a breakthrough and has created the world’s first mobile bracelet health monitor for continuous supervision of pulmonary, heart and sleep-related diseases in wearers. And Cerora, which, through a headset, delivers actionable diagnostic information regarding concussions and brain injury, with further application to Alzheimer’s disease.
Samsung on the other hand was among the first tech trick companies to produce a smartwatch, which unfortunately failed to catch on as widely as was expected. It since has introduced a platform for mobile health, called Simband, which could be used on smart wrist bands and other mobile devices. Samsung is looking for partners and will allow developers to try out different sensors and software. A Samsung employee, who requested not to be named, said the company expects to foster non-invasive glucose monitoring. Sources said Samsung is working with start-ups to implement a “traffic light” system in future Galaxy Gear smartwatches that flashes blood-sugar warnings.
The future of technology and health is a budding one with lots of positive offerings and one that if taken in the right direction will improve the course of human wellbeing.