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Posts from the ‘Technology’ Category

My Wearable Health Trackers: Tickr Run

In this edition of my series about wearable health trackers that I use, I have already described TinkéAliveCor, Pebble and Withings. When I go out for a run, I use the Runkeeper app on my Android which transmits data to my Pebble watch, but I also like to measure activity by FitBit and Withings Pulse. Although I only measure heart rate with the latter when I stop. Now Tickr Run developed by Wahoo Fitness solves this problem.

It was easy to set it up as it doesn’t even need to be paired via BlueTooth, I just open the Wahoo Fitness app and save the device. I wrap it around my chest and start running. It evaluates my running form with Running Smoothness™, measures stride rate, vertical oscillation, ground contact time, and running cadence.

Now I use Tickr Run to even help me design a good schedule and running program. This way I can finally monitor my heart rate during exercise.

It works with iOS and Android as well! Check it out!

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The Foreruners of Intel’s Wearable Technology Movement

Intel launched a global year-long initiative under the name Make It Wearable to support the evolution of wearable devices. Students, designers, engineers, and makers got involved in the VISIONARY track and the DEVELOPMENT track. Here are the finalists of the development track.

  • BABYBE is a bionic mattress that keeps mothers and their babies connected through the process of artificial incubation in a NICU.
  • The Wristify band provides natural refreshing cool or soothing warmth on demand.
  • Snowcookie is a wearable device which monitors user’s kinetics and physiology and augments it with crowdsourced ski data to enhance safety, improve technique and connect winter sports enthusiasts.
  • BabyGuard provides smart healthcare for babies before birth to 3 years of age.
  • ProGlove is a professional wearable production tool that enables the user to work faster and easier and opens up a new level in control and business intelligence for production management.
  • BLOCKS is a hardware and software platform for wearable technology.
  • This low-cost robotic prosthetic hand aims to replicate advanced functionality for under $1000.
  • vumbl is a beautiful and discrete sports and activity necklace that monitors information from the body through vibrations, and relays this information back to you using touch.
  • Nixie is the first wearable camera that can fly. First V1sion is a new broadcast system allowing the player’s point of view to be shown in sports, such as basketball, football, tennis, etc.

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QuantuMDx Announces Prototype Handheld DNA Analyzer

At the TEDMED 2014 conference, medical device developers QuantuMDx Group announced the successful production of their first fully-integrated sample-to-result working prototype of Q-POC™, a handheld lab that delivers DNA-based medical diagnosis in minutes. Here is an excerpt from their press release.

With genetic data at their fingertips, frontline healthworkers will be able to provide personalized healthcare, no matter where they are; public health officials will have the information they need to mobilize the right resources to the right place at the right time; researchers will be better equipped to monitor the efficacy of a disease intervention. Due for commercialisation in 2016, Q-POC™ is the Bio-API™ that will make this possible by translating genetic code to binary.”

QuantuMDx Q-POC prototype 72dpi

I used to work with PCR machines in the lab and it sounded like science fiction back then that once the technique could become performed at home.

Jonathan O’Halloran’s WIRED Health talk in which he described the £500 handheld device that tracks disease mutations.

Five Expectations For Patients About The Future of Medicine

The waves of technological changes coming towards us will generate new possibilities as well as serious threats to medicine and healthcare. Every stakeholder must prepare for these changes in order to reach a balance between using disruptive technologies in medicine and keeping the human touch. I remain confident that it is still possible to establish that balance and there are reasons for patients to look forward to the next few years in medicine. Here are 5 of them.

1) Health management: The vast majority of people only deal with their health when they get sick. It is due to the fact that it has been really difficult to obtain useful data about our health. Now, the wearable revolution produces a lot of devices that bring health data measurements to our homes. So far, only physicians and hospitals could measure parameters, but today anyone can. Whether it is ECG, blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation, EEG or sleep, devices which we can order online provide us with the chance of changing lifestyle based on informed decisions.

Such devices will eventually get smaller and cheaper, and we will hopefully only use them when it is of help.

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AliveCor measures ECG with a smartphone.

2) Partnership: Medicine is a paternalistic system with the doctor being on the top making decisions about the patients. The digital revolution has changed it dramatically as now information, devices and even studies became widely available to anyone with an internet connection. This newly formed partnership makes it possible to be equal with the caregiver and play an equal role in making decisions. This will create an ecosystem in which patients get more possibilities to take care of themselves, while physicians will get help from their own patients. Jackpot. Although, a very old system has to be deconstructed for this.

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3) Communities: Social media is not famous for connecting patients, but several stories proved its potential power in connecting patients with like-minded others. We have done discussed our health concerns with our neighbors before. Now we do the same online without limitations and physical boundaries. Blogs, community sites, forums, Youtube and Twitter channels focus on patients and let them have their voices heard. As Kerri Morrone Sparling said, her doctor is an expert but can only understand what she goes through every single day if he/she is diabetic, otherwise he/she can only guess.

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4) Access to data: The Blue Button movement and E-Patient Dave’s talks encourage people to understand how important it is to own your own health data. It is not only unbelievable but actually outrageous that many hospitals and practices cannot communicate online with each other. Moreover, in others, patients who want to get their own X-Ray image must provide an empty CD disk to get it in the era of digital revolution. As it is not rocket science, we can expect to see major steps forward in this area. Without proper health data, informed medical decisions cannot be made.

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5) Prediction and prevention: Never in the history of medicine patients have had that many opportunities to predict and actually prevent diseases. Anyone can order genetic tests that tell them what rare conditions and mutations they carry and what drugs they are genetically sensitive for. We are not far away from doing a blood test or sequencing genes at home. In this sea of opportunities, the activity and participation of patients are very much needed, In a few years’ time, we will have to deal with the problem of too many choices regarding wearable devices. What is required for making good decisions is knowledge about where we are heading; and skills to make our own assumptions.

If changes happen as expected, patients will benefit the most of a newly constructed and entirely better healthcare system.

My new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, includes more details and an actual guide about how to prepare properly for the technological changes.

The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology AND The Human Touch

I see enormous technological changes heading our way. If they hit us unprepared, which we are now, they will wash away the medical system we know and leave it a purely technology–based service without personal interaction. Such a complicated system should not be washed away. Rather, it should be consciously and purposefully redesigned piece by piece. If we are unprepared for the future, then we lose this opportunity. I think we are still in time and it is still possible if an easily digestible and practical guide becomes available.

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I wrote a book “The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology AND The Human Touch” to prepare everyone for the coming waves of change, to be a guide for the future of medicine that anyone can use. It describes 22 trends and technologies that will shape the future including Augmented Reality, Surgical and Humanoid Robots, Genomics, Body Sensors, The Medical Tricorder, 3D Printing, Exoskeletons, Artificial Intelligence, Nanorobots, Virtual–Digital Brains, The Rise of Recreational Cyborgs or Cryonics and Longevity.

 

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The book made it to the Amazon Top 100 as well!

As described by the foreword from Lucien Engelen, new technologies will finally help medical professionals focus more on the patient as a human being instead of spending time hunting down pertinent information. They will be able to do what they do best: provide care with expertise. In turn, patients will get the chance to be equal partners in this process taking matters into their own hands. But only if we are prepared.

Paperback | Colored paperback | Kindle version

Excerpts from reader reviews:

“This excellent book should be read not only by health care professionals, but also by policy makers, researchers and even patients.”

 

“It is an amazing piece of work! A must read for all interested in what the future -and the present – of medicine has to offer.”

 

“The book is so well executed that I couldn’t put it down. This book provides us with an easy writing style, a simple clear lay-out, and well-chosen photos.”

Please use the #medicalfuture hashtag to discuss the topics depicted by the book.

 

The Guide to the Future of Medicine is Available: Download the E-book for Free!

I cannot tell you how happy I’m to announce the official release of my book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine which was just made available in black & white paperback, colored paperback and Kindle formats. Moreover, the Kindle format is for free (yes, totally free) until the 6th of September.

It contains over one year of hard work, 70 interviews and 22 trends that will shape the future of medicine including Augmented Reality, Surgical and Humanoid Robots, Genomics, Body Sensors, The Medical Tricorder, 3D Printing, Exoskeletons, Artificial Intelligence, Nanorobots, Virtual–Digital Brains, The Rise of Recreational Cyborgs or Cryonics and Longevity.

Through these, I challenged myself to prove that it is possible to use more and more disruptive technologies in medicine while successfully keeping the human touch.

With Lucien Engelen’s foreword, the many examples and extraordinary stories depicted in the book, you will hopefully get a clear picture where medicine and healthcare are heading at the moment, and more importantly, what we can do as patients, medical professionals or policy makers to prepare for the waves of change.

Please use the #medicalfuture hashtag on Twitter and tell me what you think!

The Guide to the Future of Medicine ebook cover

Withings launches #NoMoreSnooze and Aura: Interview

Withings launched the #NoMoreSnooze campaign to encourage people to not hit the snooze button, as well as their sleep tracker Aura which not only helps improve sleep but how we wake up. I did a quick interview with the founders to find out how it actually works. I wrote about how and why I use Withings Pulse before.

How do Pulse and Aura compare regarding the quality of measuring sleep?
Pulse measures sleep only based on the users movements. The Aura measures sleep based on movement and vital signs (heart rate & breathing), therefore it allows the user to track more in depth sleep cycles including REM (rapid eye movement) sleep when the user is completely motionless except for their breathing. Understanding the user’s sleep cycles is why the Aura is called the smart sleep system and uses data from the sleep sensor to wake up the user at the lightest time in their sleep cycle.

Isn’t the ultimate goal of wearables to make them smaller and smaller?
The Aura is not a wearable, in fact it is better than a wearable because it allows for a completely discrete experience for the user. Once the sleep sensor is placed under the user’s mattress, they never have to worry about it again and it automatically starts tracking sleep without having to touch any buttons. Along with the bedside device, the user never has to think about tracking because they will just automatically receive their sleep data on their smartphone every morning.

So far, I have been setting the Morpheuz app on my Pebble smartwatch to wake me up at the best potential time based on the measurements of Pulse. How would Aura change this habit of mine?
Aura uses scientifically proven light and sound program to drastically improve the user’s wake-up experience. It is not only the data from the sleep sensor but also that it connects to the bedside device to slowly wake up the user in their lightest sleep cycle with soothing rhythm based on their breathing rate and emitting the appropriate wavelengths of light to slowly inhibit the secretion of melatonin (the hormone responsible for our sleep-wake cycle) to wake up the user peacefully ensuring the best overall sleep quality.  

Let me know what experience you had after using Aura!

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