Wearable technology has been used for medical purposes in the market for the past decade. Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit have been at the forefront of the health tracking movement, but wearable technology has the capability to dig deeper. In fact, wearables are becoming key to combatting some of medicine’s most pressing issues: cancer, heart disease, hearing loss, and visual impairment.
Today, we look at the companies and devices behind the digital movement to make the world a healthier place.
Apple Watch Monitors Heart Health
The Apple Watch offers a lot of benefits when it comes to collecting biometric data. Kate McCarthy, who analyzes health care, utilizes her Apple Watch to monitor and track Addison’s disease. This allows her to track her biometric data more effectively rather than using individual devices to track blood pressure, heart rate, etc. Devices such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit are great for motivation tracking calories burned, minutes active, and heart rate, but there are also life saving devices.
The IoT and M2Ms Chart Blood Flow
The LVAD, a battery-operated pump, helps patients awaiting a heart transplant by pumping blood through a weak or “broken” heart. It’s helped give Houston resident, Danquien Horton, more time to live after experiencing heart failure due to the effects of cancer treatment. A Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) is another device that helps collect data on a patient’s heart utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. Reliant Heart and Numetrix are industry leaders in producing the technology for advanced circulatory assistance and M2M communication. M2M technology has allowed for around-the-clock monitoring for clinicians with real-time data and alerts whenever there is a drop in blood flow.
Ten3T Monitors Remotely
Founded in 2014 by Rahul Shingrani and Prasad Bhat, the medical startup Ten3T is working to bridge the gap between tech and medicine in order to help save patients’ lives. A monitor called Cicer tracks pulse, respiration, blood, and oxygen and streams real-time data. This device frees up doctors’ time and attention allowing more patients to be aided. Shingrani states that between 70 and 80 percent of the patients in the ICU are there specifically for its monitoring services. Cicer, however, hopes to change that. The 9 cm triangular device is built with algorithms that allow “clinicians to make immediate, accurate and predictive decisions.” Ten3T is based out of India, has one of the highest instances of heart disease in the world. Cicer has the ability to save the lives of more people susceptible to heart failure and disease by monitoring patients remotely. After all, onsets of heart failure happen within minutes and early detection could be the difference between life and death.
The Smart Bra Detects Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States—over 255,000 new cases are expected this year. iTbra is designed to help aid early detection without requiring a mammogram, and can provide a “highly accurate” self-exam in 2 to 12 hours. According to Cancer.gov, the five-year survival rate of stage I breast cancer is almost 100% and roughly 93% for stage II. Early detection is clearly a huge advantage for people fighting breast cancer. The technology works to detect circadian patterns in breast cells and has a smart phone interface option available. The technology is still in development stages but could become the future of detecting cancer faster.
AT&T Pairs with Aira to Help Visually Impaired
AT&T recently announced its partnership with Aira a company that provides a digital pair of eyes to the blind and aids navigation utilizing the power of IoT. The company invented a pair of wearable glasses that streams a live video to an agent who can communicate information back to the wearer. In order to execute this operation, Aira needed to ensure a strong wireless connection. So Aira teamed up with AT&T at the AT&T Foundry as part of its Connected Health initiative. In the innovation report Nadia Morris, Head of Innovation at the AT&T Foundry, said, “I’m excited to continue pushing the boundaries on medical breakthroughs and technology at the Houston AT&T Foundry in effort help improve quality of life.”
Solar Ear Changes the Hearing Game
“To lower hearing loss and its burden through the use of innovative appropriate technologies.” That is the mission of Solar Ear, a company started by a man who lost his job and found himself on a quest to provide meaning to his daughter’s death. Howard Weinstein, CEO and founder of Solar Ear, created a hearing aid that can be recharged by solar energy. The device lasts up to 2-3 years and can be sold at $100 while still maintaining a profit. Solar Ear has been in the market since 2006 but is still helping aid the estimated 7% of people around the world with hearing loss.
The Future of Health Tracking
Advancements in technology and medicine are going to keep revolutionizing the way we live by prolonging life and finding cures for deadly diseases. The world will change not only within the medical sector, but also the way we teach our children and conduct our daily lives. Elsevier featured predictions from some of medicine’s top professionals on what to expect in the next hundred years in the industry. Wearable technology has the power to transform and optimize one of the world’s most important and fascinating disciplines.