This year represents a turning point for wearable health trackers, out of which an obvious next one could be a gadget that delivers drugs through the skin when needed. ChronoDose now delivers nicotine for those who would like to stop smoking but the patches didn’t really seem to be working. Users can teach the gadget when it is the hardest to resist the temptation therefore it can add the next dosage in the right time.
ChronoDose is a programmable transdermal drug delivery system that’s worn as an armband. The ChronoDose will someday offer many different drugs the ability to be programmed, and administered via this transdermal device, but the buzz is all about it’s use as the world’s first programmable nicotine replacement method. ChronoDose’s use with SmartStop™ gives the device the ability to be programmed to anticipate the users cravings, and offer nicotine dosing scheduled to take effect before the urge to smoke strikes.
Without managing our health while being healthy it is impossible to significantly improve healthcare. I’ve already introduced the health trackers I have been using to stay healthy as an attempt of persuading people to do so.
Now Withings has come up with the report of a recent survey that had some worrying results.
- Although 82% of Americans think tracking vital signs at home is important, one fifth of Americans do not track any vitals outside of the doctor’s office.
- 75% of people would be open to checking their vitals at home if they were a part of a program that would save them money on health insurance premiums
- Oddly enough, although 59% of respondents monitor their temperature with a thermometer, only 12% could recall it as a vital sign, unprompted.
- Over 80% of patients recall their doctors taking body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. Only 29% remember blood oxygen level being measured at their last check-up.
Obviously, better wearable gadgets are needed which make the whole process comfortable, simple and smooth.
Do you track any health parameters? If so, which ones? If not, why not?
Update: Also, here is the infographic Withings has released (click on the image for the original one):
A few months ago I discussed the future features of smart contact lenses. Now using these to augment vision or track health parameters is not only a good idea any more, as Google launched a partnership with the pharmaceutical company Novartis to develop smart contact lenses that can track diabetes by measuring blood glucose levels in tears and fix farsightedness as well.
As part of the agreement, Google[x] and Novartis’ eye care division Alcon will create smart lenses that feature “non-invasive sensors, microchips and other miniaturized electronics” and focus on two main areas. The first will provide a way for diabetic patients to keep on top of their glucose levels by measuring the sugar levels in their tear fluid, feeding the data back to a smartphone or tablet. The second solution aims to help restore the eye’s natural focus on near objects, restoring clear vision to those who are only farsighted (presbyopia).
There has been a long debate whether people would want to get the right diagnosis and the best treatment from human caregivers or algorithms/programs providing the same quality. Every round table or discussion group I have ever been the member of concluded that people need people in interaction and communication, especially when they are vulnerable. However, there is nothing to make us believe there won’t be an algorithm that can diagnose a disease better than a human doctor.
To make this issue even more complicated, new research found patients are more likely to respond honestly to personal questions when talking to a virtual human.
“The power of VH (virtual human) interviewers to elicit more honest responding comes from the sense that no one is observing or judging,” note the researchers, led by Gale Lucas of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies. People have a strong tendency to want to look good in front of others, including doctors; this problematic tendency can be short-circuited using this high-tech tool.
If you think this is something we don’t have to deal with yet, try to convince yourself that the chatbot you are talking with is not a human. Coming up with the right questions to prove that is a good exercise before the era of artifical intelligence. Here are some examples, but not all of these links work all the time.
Have you seen the most important 5 seconds of the recent opening ceremony of the Football World Cup? A person standing in an exoskeleton controlled the machine with his thoughts and made the first kick of the game. Isn’t is amazing? It should have received a much larger attention.
Popular Science summarized in a report and a video how it actually worked and what happened in the backstage. Here are some interesting details:
The sensors placed on Juliano Pinto record angle, position, pressure, and temperature, that is then fed back to the subject through vibrations placed on their torso. These vibrations create an illusion in the brain itself that the subject is responsible for limb movement. In a sense, the exoskeleton is incorporated as an extension of the person’s body.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) came up with a fantastic device that can read written words out loud for people with impaired vision. Not surprisingly, the device was printed out with a 3D printer and has to be worn on the index finger.
A synthesized voice reads words aloud, quickly translating books, restaurant menus and other needed materials for daily living, especially away from home or office.
Reading is as easy as pointing the finger at text. Special software tracks the finger movement, identifies words and processes the information. The device has vibration motors that alert readers when they stray from the script, said Roy Shilkrot, who is developing the device at the MIT Media Lab.
A few more years with such developments, and having a health issue will not be a disadvantage any more.
As a medical futurist, I work on bringing disruptive technologies to medicine & healthcare; assisting medical professionals and students in using these in an efficient and secure way; and educating e-patients about how to become equal partners with their caregivers.
I publish a daily newsletter about the future of medicine, and share related news almost every hour on Twitter. Scienceroll.com is updated on a regular basis about the future of healthcare with an emphasis on social media. Here is my white paper, The Guide to the Future of Medicine.
I’m the author of Social Media in Clinical Practice handbook; and the founder of Webicina.com, a service that curates medical content in social media for medical professionals and e-patients.
I launched The Social MEDia Course, the e.learning format of my university course focusing on medicine and social media for medical students, physicians and also patients with Prezis, tests and gamification.
My recent keynote at TEDxNijmegen:
I hope you will enjoy reading Scienceroll.com!