The focus of the Consumer Electronics Show, which was held in Las Vegas 6-9 January, was innovation in the growing mobile medical technology market. CES is the biggest trade fair in the world which annually attracts latest technological developments in the electronics sector. A two-day Digital Health Summit took place at CES-2016. Experts estimate that the market’s size will reach 26 billion dollars within a year. What are users and investors ready to pay for? Welltory Blog’s editorial staff have prepared a review of the most interesting technological advances.
The main trends are smart clothes and wearable devices. They are becoming increasingly popular as they transform from complex gadgets into simple and easy-to-use everyday objects. For example, the winner of the annual CES Innovation Awards in the Fitness, Sports and Biotech category is Ouraring (https://ouraring.com). At first glance it is a small health and fitness device that collects data about its owner which is then processed in a special app. At night, the ring analyses the quality of your sleep and recovery measuring your heart and respiratory rates, temperature and movements. During the day it records your physical activity and sedentary time, tracks the amount of steps you take and gives you recommendations on how to keep the work-life balance. The funds for the development and production of the ring were raised on Kickstarter.com (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/oura/oura-ring-improve-sleep-perform-better/description). 2383 people transferred over 600 thousand dollars to the company in 37 days.
45.7 million wearable devices were sold in 2015, as opposed to 19.6 million in 2014, a 133.4% increase (source: IDC).
Intel presented its Adrenaline dress with built-in body temperature, perspiration and adrenaline sensors as a demonstration of what smart clothes can do. When the amount of adrenaline in the blood increases the dress notifies its owner by changing its colour. Another device that was developed by Intel in cooperation with Oakley is Radar Pace smart glasses for runners. It tracks how active you are during your training session, studies your running technique and gives you real time voice recommendations. The glasses are expected to come on the market by the end of 2016.
What’s on your plate? In 10 seconds SCIO molecular sensor will scan products’ chemical composition, identify them and provide information about their nutritional value. More than that, it can analyse oils, fuel and medicines and detect counterfeits. The pocket Bluetooth gadget which was crowd-sourced on kickstarter.com has already entered the manufacturing stage (the producer’s website offers preorders) and is expected to be a huge success in the consumer market. The scanner’s price is about 300 dollars.
LifeFuels presented a smart bottle that makes drinks and tracks liquid consumption. The new device has emphasized the trend to turn everyday objects into smart gadgets by equipping them with sensors and connection modules. The bottle can be charged with 5 different additives which are then automatically mixed with water. The device tracks the drinks you have and sends the data to your smartphone, you can use it with FitBit, MyFitnessPal or Apple Health.
Medical data collection gets easier. For example, blood pressure can be measured by Blumio phone case. It has a revolutionary built-in sensor that takes measurements several times per second. The only thing you will need to do is to put your smartphone on your hand and wait a little. The device is very precise, it shows you real time blood pressure data recorded with each heart beat. Right now the Blumio phone case is undergoing clinical trials and the FDA approval procedure. After approval and certification data collected by Blumio may be used in medical practice.
Thermo thermometer by Withings is equipped with 16 infrared sensors. The device can take your temperature in two seconds, the data is kept in a special app. Each member of your family will have their own account. The thermometer can connect to your smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Price: $100.
Many people will find UPRIGHT Posture Trainer useful, especially those who spend a lot of time at the computer. The small gadget attaches to your back and vibrates every time you hunch. The user can choose their personal programme to train back muscles and improve muscle memory. The developers of the UPRIGHT Posture Trainer say it helps you change your habits in a short period of time. Price: only 130 dollars.
Sleep quality has a direct impact on you. We feel great only after a good night’s sleep which restores our energy and resources. Emfit QS ($274) is a powerful contact-less sleep tracker which helps you find the right intensity level for your workout routine. Installed under your mattress the device measures your heart rate, analyses your sleep and gives you recommendations which help you reduce stress, recover quicker and achieve better sports results.
Digital Health developers didn’t forget about babies either. Thermometer stickers have been designed specifically for babies. They control the baby’s temperature 24/7 and show the data in real time on the parents’ smartphones. Hatch Baby changing pad tracks your baby’s weight gain and controls its sleep and activity. The data shows your baby’s growth dynamics and its current state of health.
Mental health is also in the spotlight. There are new apps that help you control your stress, or at least identify your stressors. There is brain fitness. It includes technology that helps you train your brain, improve your memory and attention span, it also teaches you to relax. Muse is a unique meditation brain sensing headband and an app. The system catches electrical signals from your brain, shows its activity in real time and gives you recommendations on how to improve your meditation sessions.
Wearable fitness gadget developers have found a way to automatically detect physical exercise. The device is a new-generation Blaze series Fitbit smart watch which is able to distinguish between walking, running, playing tennis or cycling. The information about your training sessions is recorded automatically, you don’t need to take notes of how many push-ups you did or how much time you spent playing tennis.
Wearable technology helps us keep track of our health and it is a rapidly growing field. Devices become more technologically advanced and at the same time more intuitive. Sensors become cheaper, smaller and more energy efficient. All this helps developers integrate them into all kinds of everyday objects. As a result, we get more information about ourselves every day thus improving our lives.