Wearable Medical Devices – IoT

In a tête-à-tête with my long lost doctor friend from the United States, we touched upon the most interesting development in the medical field. This now works in tandem with the digital space. This is the sphere of medical wearables.

Today medical devices are designed around a prudence model, making the same more portable and cost effective. These devices are enabled to track the patient’s health strapping the goodness of advanced sensors and the Internet of Things.

Devices that were once available for a $1000 USD (approximately) are now available for something as measly as $175 USD (approximately), offering unmatched accuracy and portability. One can track down results to at least a little over a year on the palm of one hand, i.e. on a smartphone, or a tablet. This is done without exerting any cost of transport, or even having to incessantly redo reports incurring unnatural amounts. The devices can be used to track details of your health anytime you require and in the comfort of your own home.

The diving line between smart wearables and medical devices are indeed negligible.

In this blog we are tapping a whole new realm of medical devices that track blood pressure, hydration, oxygen levels, respiration, posture, temperature, pain relief, sleep, ingestion, skin conductance, and a lot more, which cannot be currently measured by smart wearables.

At the global level, the market of medical wearables is expected to grow at a staggering 20% in the next five years and notch to an all time high on $14.2 billion USD by 2020 (perhaps even more)

Today, researchers are making not only making amends with the flaws pointed below, but strive to make devices more interactive as well. For instance, the Interactive Voice response (IVS) is now being added to devices. They are also making devices smarter, tapping on the physiological, and psychological aspects of the patients, directly explaining the details of the recorded data to the clinician or the doctor. There are other such inconceivable inputs that are being inserted by researchers from time to time. Improvising upon the technology is ensuring these devices are here to stay for long.

Some of my favorite devices are

  1. Lumo Fit– This is the most interesting device that measures posture. The device serves not only as a fashion piece on your apparel, but can also be fitted under your clothing. The device innovatively tracks posture. The same vibrates upon sensing the slouch in the human body. The device retails at an approximate $80 USD .
  2. The Valedo – Do you have an acute pain in your lower back? This device is designed on the interface of a video game, giving the wearer instructions on exercises to. The device is fitted on the individuals back, and can be monitored using an app on your tab or smart-phone. The device is especially designed keeping iOS users in mind, and is connected to the phone or the tablet via Bluetooth. The device is retailed at an approximate EUR299.
  3. Google Lenses – No, no, in no way one can assume this is a smart device. Google partnered with Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical company and created the Google Contact Lenses. The lenses are designed to track Diabetes, by checking the glucose levels in the tears. The company states that the device is smartly engineered to restore the natural autofocus of the wearer too.
  4. Vitaliti by Cloud DX – this lovely device is to be worn around the wearer’s neck. The device is compatible both with iOS and Android devices. The device is designed to check oxygen levels, heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, movement and temperature. Since this is a cloud-funded product, users can learn more on donating, and even how to be part of the profit sharing programme.
  5. Muse – The Muse is one of the very first devices in the world that gives you a real time feedback on what is happening in the human brain while meditating. The Muse headband is connected to an application on the phone using a Bluetooth device. The application records the activity of your brains by translating the same to the sound of the wind. When the mind is active, one will perceive the sound of the blowing wind, and when the mind is clam the sound of the wind is of that of settled winds. A series of graphs and charts will track your progress at the end of each session. The Muse will also provide the user with goals to achieve from time to time improvising upon the rhythm of the brain.

But the market for such wearable devices has its inhibitions for growth too.

  • From the price point consumers think that costs of these complex devices don’t do justice to their lifestyle. Consumers are not smitten by devices with standalone feature, but are looking for features that serve a multitude of purposes.
  • The usage instructions are indeed very complex. The wearer generally doesn’t quite land up wearing the device for more than 15 to 16 months. (this poses as one of the biggest challenge in this variation).
  • Patrons are looking at devices that deliver accurate results, and DON’T always need a portable device to view the results. (Looking for devices that display results.) mobile phones.
  • Next, the consumers are worried about how and to what extent are insurance companies going to cover these devices.
  • There are several technical challenges a user faces with these devices. For instance the device would not be able to give accurate results if the skin is dry or for that matter even if there is excessive hair on the skin.
  • There is a need for special batteries to be designed. These should be able to last longer.
  • Seamless Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connection or new communication protocol also is a point that needs to be considered. If the device is not seamlessly connected, the results delivered could go haywire. 

End Note

The blog may serve as a mere outline to those in the business. The field only expands with every passing day, and I could certainly key down unending pages on the same. However, the while this blog gave you readers more or less a detailed insight on the use of external wearables, let me speak on what is coming up next. The next blog will speak on implanted medical devices. Till then toggle on!

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