Smart and wearable technology has made great strides in recent years, developing applications that often go beyond just being able to monitor a person’s physical performance and fitness. Examples of these developments include research into the treatment of diseases, as well as in maintaining health in general, the Managed Healthcare Executive notes.
“In 2016, there were more than 101.9 million wearable devices sold”
The growth of the fitness and health wearable industry has been enormous. The International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that in 2016, there were more than 101.9 million wearable devices sold. This represented a growth of around 29% over 2015. It has been estimated that the market will grow further and sell 213.6 million units by 2020.
Currently, the most common wearables look like wristwatches. However, it is expected that clothing and eyewear devices will gain ground. The clinical application of wearable technology is evolving, as technology companies partner with healthcare organizations with the goal of solving some of the healthcare industry’s biggest problems.
The following are eight wearables in the healthcare industry which are worth exploring:
- The LIVE by EarlySense is a remote monitor system for bedridden patients. One of the hardest tasks for a caregiver is providing continuous care for bedridden patients. The device collects vital signs and sleep patterns in real time. The data is sent via a mobile app and received by caregivers, nurses and clinicians. The LIVE itself is not something that the patient wears, but is placed under the patient’s mattress. Studies have found that it is 92.5% accurate in monitoring vital signs like heart rate, breathing, movement, as well as sleep patterns and other factors.
- The Rapael Smart Glove is designed for people who have experienced neurological and musculoskeletal injuries, including strokes or heart attacks. It is used for physical therapy purposes, where it is used to create an exercise schedule with the use of a 30-minute exercise. It makes use of game software where the patient plays table tennis, baseball and other activities on the computer. The activity is given a score which is used to motivate the patient.
- The Rapael Smart Board is aimed at helping patients with mobility problems with their shoulders and elbows. The Smart Board also makes use of computer games to motivate the patient to play the games which entail moving the affected parts through a wide range of motion.
- The K’Track Glucose monitor is one of the simplest glucose monitor for people with diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2). The monitor makes use of micro-needles less than 0.5mm. These micro needles collect fluid right below the skin surface. These are also analyzed to provide blood sugar information. A replaceable cartridge houses the micro needles, and lasts up to 30 days. The cartridge can take an unlimited number of readings during its lifetime. To use the monitor, the patient presses a button, and in within a minute, the results are displayed on the device. The results can also be synchronized with a mobile app.
- The Fever Scout is a patch that reads the body temperature and sends this information to caregivers and medical health practitioners via a mobile app. Caregivers can remotely monitor the patient’s temperature. The Fever Scout continuously takes temperature readings and sends this data to the mobile app even when its 25 or 30 feet away from the patient.
- The AccendoWave is a pain management monitoring wearable. By reading the patient’s electroencephalography system (EEG), the device knows if the patient is in pain and tries to distract him away from the discomfort. AccendoWave is in partnership with Samsung and uses a Samsung tablet to entertain the patient depending on the pain level. The patient is also able to rate the device depending on whether the distraction alleviated the discomfort felt.
- The Ava bracelet monitors women’s fertility and their menstrual cycle. It uses a huge amount of information which show a relationship with female reproductive hormones. It monitors pulse rate, sleep, breathing, skin temperature, and others. The device is only worn at night and synchronizes data with the use of a mobile app. This device has been FDA-approved and has been on sale since 2015.
- The Omron Project Zero 2.0 is a wearable which looks like a regular wrist watch. It measures blood pressure, sleep, heart rate and other activities. It synchronizes with a mobile app and is powered by a battery which runs for about a week before it needs to be recharged. It was presented to the public at the 2017 Consumer Electronics show.
These latest developments in wearable technology show how technological innovations in one industry such as fitness can be applied to other industries such as healthcare. The Bold Impact of applying technological breakthroughs across industries could greatly improve people’s lives. From wearables in fitness and healthcare, to Virtual Reality in entertainment and education, the possibilities are endless.