5 Ways You Probably Did Not Know Health Technology Was Getting Used

Five Ways You Probably Did Not Know Health Technology Was Getting Used

Digital health technology has entered our daily lives and for some people established itself as a part of their daily routines. According to a national telephone survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 69 percent of Americans now track their health stats, and 34 percent report that this practice influenced a health decision they have made. Different health devices, sensors and apps are being used to track, monitor and manage literally all areas of life, from sleep and eating habits to sex and fertility.

Big Data is improving quality of life, reaching people in an increasingly personal and specialized way, and becoming more refined and capable.

JUNE is an attractive wrist wearable that offers you sun protection by measuring UV exposure and alerting you when you absorb an excessive amount of UVA and UVB rays. The mobile app that comes with it computes the data and gives you the UV index in real time, as well as sends notifications to your phone prompting you to re-apply sunscreen, what SPF to use, and advising you to wear a hat or sunglasses. This digital device measures what you cannot see — thus often forgotten about — and aims to prevent premature skin damage while also taking into consideration your skin type.

The next device might come in handy not only to savvy yoga and meditation practitioners, but also to other consumers wishing to improve their mental well-being. Spire is a device worn as a clip on your clothes that provides calmness and focus feedback.

The device measures inhalation and exhalation times, respiratory rate, possible apneic events, activity levels and analyzes your breathing patterns to suggest your state of mind. If you appear tense, it quickly urges you to take a breather, and is designed to help you discover what makes you calm and focused.

Health technology can also help us address areas some might find taboo in comfort and privacy. The KegalSmart pelvic floor muscles trainer is a vibrator-like device that registers a woman’s pelvic strength, rates it and guides her through a routine of Kegel exercises by providing gentle vibrations. It also offers immediate feedback, so the user knows how she is progressing and improving.

There are also exciting developments that will be here in the not too distant future. For instance, on the horizon is a simple and noninvasive breast cancer detection system, designed to be worn as a sports bra. It appears that after years of clinical trials this device might soon become available to the general public (the manufacturer hopes to obtain the FDA approval by 2016). Designed to outperform the unpleasant mammography, it features temperature sensors which monitor changes to blood flow that correlate with the growth of cancerous tissue. The device is wirelessly connected to the person’s phone or a doctor’s office, which makes it comfortable to wear compared to its analog data pack predecessor.

Eventually, this ‘smart bra,’ that gives the term ‘Wonderbra,’ a new meaning, will become available over-the-counter and will serve as a potentially better alternative to the recommended monthly self-exam.  

Digital health technology is not just for adults anymore. Products are being developed for all age groups and more and more gadgets and apps now target the area of children’s health and development. These devices and apps help parents in their efforts to keep their young ones happy and thriving. HAPI, the company that developed the ‘smart fork’ that measures how fast you eat, has now launched the ‘smart baby bottle.’ In addition to monitoring baby’s food intake, the HAPI bottle also coaches new parents how to best hold it to prevent ingesting air and tells them if there are any lumps clogging the bottle. Moreover, while you are away and another person is feeding the baby, you conveniently receive an alert on your smartphone, so you never feel too far away from your loved ones.

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