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Posts from the ‘Technology’ Category

Why Predicting The Future Of Medicine Is Hard – Video

Science fiction movies sometimes show us a great future, but in medicine, they almost always make a huge mistake. There are 3 major reasons why predicting the future in medicine & healthcare is hard, if not impossible.

Please do share what you think.

A New Wearable For Water Safety

A new wearable is seeking crowdfunding on Indiegogo. Kingii is meant to help people who get in trouble in water and provide a sign that can be seen from a distance. It inflates, stays like that for 48 hours, has a compass and a whistle.

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I don’t think it’s a bad idea. Let’s see how it goes.

The World’s Most Lifelike Robot Prosthetics

Nicky Ashwell was born without her right arm and now she got equipped with Steeper’s bebionic small hand. This seems to be one of the most sophisticated robotic prosthetics out there. For years, Touch Bionics has seemed to be in the forefront but now there are more competitors.

First UK user receives world’s most lifelike bionic hand: Nicky Ashwell becomes first UK user

First UK user receives world’s most lifelike bionic hand: Nicky Ashwell becomes first UK user

Her bionic hand costs about $11,000 and has 337 mechanical parts and 14 precision grips. Its makers want to transform the lives of 3 million amputees. An excerpt from the article:

“I realized that I had been making life challenging for myself when I didn’t need to,” she continued. “The movements now come easily and look natural. I keep finding myself being surprised by the little things, like being able to carry my purse while holding my boyfriend’s hand.”

With such developments (cost goes down while functionalities improve), soon, all prosthetics will be as futuristic as Luke Skywalker’s bionic hand in the trailer of Star Wars Episode VII (at 00:45 in the video below).

5 Healthcare Startups Among The 30 Innovative Companies Changing The World

CNN came up with the Upstart30 list that features 30 innovative companies that are changing the world. The only good thing about such lists is that you can come across startups you have never heard of before. Here are 5 healthcare startups from the list:

  • uBiome: genetic sequencing of your microbiome, the microbes living in your digestive system.
  • Ovuline: data on menstrual cycles and physical and emotional symptoms to predict when a woman is most fertile.
  • Honor: In elderly care, they screen and assign caretakers to seniors based on skills.
  • Eko Devices: Using Bluetooth technology, the Core sends digital recordings of heartbeats to Eko’s app and web portal. Doctors can chart the heartbeat or send the recording to a specialist for further review.
  • BioBots‘ first product is a revolutionary 3D printer for building cells, tissues and organs. The printer uses a chemical that works with visible blue light technology, which doesn’t harm the cells.

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Dealing With Data From Wearables

I use plenty of devices to obtain data about my lifestyle and health parameters. My only intention behind that is living a better and healthier life. But dealing with the awful amount of data is a struggle. I could improve my sleep, daily fitness or concentration one by one, but combining data requires me being a researcher, a doctor and a geek. It seems I’m not alone with this problem.

There’s hope for wearable devices that actually take the types of measurements that would be helpful for health monitoring. But realizing that hope will probably mean moving on to radically new technologies. And it will certainly mean developing devices that are able to take a wider variety of measurements.

Instead, I would love to use an app or a service that draws conclusions for me based on my wearables. I wrote about Exist.io a few days ago and I decided to give it a try. A long story short, it was not a success.

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Conclusions it provided based on my schedule, sleep quality, daily activities, Twitter and Instagram profiles were not useful and I can draw better ones myself. While I wished such an app could help me in my quest of living a healthy life, but I’m a bit glad it didn’t work out fine. That might be a sign that we should not rely on an app when making decisions about lifestyle. They could help us, but the decision must be ours.

I’m pretty sure Exist will get better and IBM Watson will soon join this market with its smart algorithms. Maybe after the wearable revolution, we will not only get flooded by sensors, but by better apps. And maybe Google’s new wearable might change things. Until then, I keep on thinking about what changes I can make in my lifestyle based on what I measure.

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If you know of such apps, please let me know. Thank you!

10 Thoughts About The Future Of Medicine

I give about 90-100 talks per year and in every case I get really exciting questions from laypeople, industry experts, medical professionals, students, and engineers. They come up with amazing ideas and I thought that I would collect those 10 thoughts which might really shape the future of medicine. Here they are as a list and then in details in the video.

  1. Being up-to-date
  2. Be skeptic about bad technologies
  3. Read and watch science fiction
  4. Be proactive
  5. We will become pilots of our health
  6. The ivory tower is no more
  7. Measuring any vital signs at home
  8. Patient will be the king
  9. IT is going to be intuitive
  10. It only depends on us!

What To Do With Data From Wearables?

I get this question so many times from people who are about to start using a tracker to improve their lives. I need to be a doctor, a researcher and a geek to analyze my data. There should be apps and services that provide meaningful suggestions about how to change our lifestyle based on the data trackers obtain.

Exist.io aims at filling this gap. Here is what they say about themselves:

We turn numbers into insights. We collect data from the services you already use and find trends and correlations in the results. Start by connecting your fitness tracker, and add other services like your calendar for greater context on what you’re up to.

Exist is a web app that works great on mobile, with companion Android and iPhone apps too.

It’s free for 14 days then it costs $6 per month. I’m starting my trial period today and will keep you posted about how it goes.

Until then, ReadWriteWeb had a detailed article about them.

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