Internet of Things in healthcare – smart devices
Technology in healthcare is a big topic at the moment – and it should be! The use of technology within the healthcare system has the potential to save the industry millions, to help predict and prevent illness, and even save our NHS for future generations.
Another topic that has caused quite a buzz this year is the Internet of Things, which refers to ‘things’ being linked up to the internet connected to other ‘things’, and being able to send and receive information. We’re not just talking phones and computers; we’re talking about your actual stuff – from watches and glasses to fridges, with new devices being developed constantly.
It’s therefore no surprise that Internet of Things devices focused on health and healthcare are popping up all the time. Below are some interesting devices you might not have seen before, but have the potential to save on costs and help improve our healthcare system:
The FingerReader is designed to help the visually impaired read by converting text to audio through a camera mounted on top to capture the text and text extraction software on a connected laptop or mobile phone.
This has been three years in the making and is still being developed, so it will be exciting to see it in practice, especially as this has the opportunity to benefit so many groups of people, including the elderly and children as well.
By using lights, speakers and sensors to monitor the opening and closing of the pill bottle, the humidity and the amount of medication that is being removed in real time, it will be able to keep track of usage and dosage, and alert patients as to when they need to be taking their medication.
It will even alert patients via a phone call or text message if medication isn’t taken on time, which has the potential to reduce costs that are associated with incorrect dosages or missed medication – which are in the range of £170 billion. A fantastic idea.
Star Trek’s Tricorders
This is one that will surely be a big hit! Like the medical tricorder from Star Trek, this cool device will be able to read a person’s heart rate, temperature and oxygen levels, just by holding it to their forehead.
It uses a variety of sensors and a microphone to send information via Bluetooth to a smartphone app about your health. What’s more impressive is that the information is said to be 99% accurate, and can easily be shared with doctors. It also provides details on ECG waves and pulse wave transit time (PWTT) among other readings.
We certainly hope to be seeing this device later this year, as it means that patients will be able to take their own readings, whilst their doctor is immediately alerted should any of the results be a cause for concern.
A new way to be identified: through the unique pattern in your heartbeat. The Nymi bracelet from Canadian firm Bionym will be able to measure each person’s unique cardiac rhythm tracked on an electrocardiogram.
When the wearer touches the bracelet with their opposite hand, it will take electrocardiogram and broadcast a signal to a matching device, for example allowing it to be unlocked.
This new baby monitor is a sleep suit that can track a baby wearer’s temperature, breathing rate, body position and activity level.
There is a waterproof plastic turtle on the suit with a temperature sensor, accelerometer and Bluetooth low-energy chip that sends audio and data in real time to connected apps for iOS and Android devices. All parents need to do is download the app – it is also possible to see past logs so parents will be able to make more sense out of their baby’s sleeping patterns.
To read more about these devices take a look at this article on CBR, and if you’d like to learn more about the importance of investing in healthcare, take a look at this research from earlier this year.