January 2016

We continue to see the inevitable – and for me, welcome, ‘medicalisation’ of wearable as time and technology marches forward.

I have long argued that the devices we see today in the tech-consumer world are all ‘wellness’ / fitness type gadgets. Often little more than a modern pedometer, perhaps with a gyroscope and software algorithms to increase the accuracy and an app /social-component to make it engaging/fun. They’re increasingly cheap to make, and small and light to wear. And of course they don’t need regulatory approval as a medical device.

Earlier today respected Paul Sonnier shared a hopeful – but perhaps still early stage – “SenseGO” sock from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Apparently there’s also a similar concept on the horizon already, but I felt it was worth discussing from an ‘evolutionary’ perspective.

If you read the source article, you can sense the rapprochement from something less wellbeing/fitness/motivation focused and closer to the medical arena. Put simply the concept could potentially go as far as to reduce the number amputations by giving the all-important preventative warnings – something that remote monitoring, close-proximity solutions will increasingly thrive at.

It’s not some sort of magic bio-sensing chemical change detector but a mesh of sensors capable of detecting pressure thus preventing the formation of ulcers. Frankly I find it quite ingenious.

Read more

This year it feels like it’s actually happening: consumer focused health tech is happening.

And yes, fitness bands are as plentiful as TVs, but this year it seems the focus has moved – ever so slightly – away from merely fitness, and more towards health.

Much of how it’s marketed ends up being a question of regulatory hurdles, but it’s exciting to see the shift.

Check out your hemoglobin? No problem. Buy a relatively inexpensive device – Embar (from Ceracor) and enjoy non-invasive readings, and results/graphs etc on your smartphone. It currently seems marketed to athletes, rather than as a medical instrument but perhaps before too long this sore of technology could help millions with renal, hepatic and other chronic conditions.

Check your wriggling infant’s temperature and have the hope of it being a reliable reading ? The newly announced Thermo from Withings may be up your street with 16 sensors taking 4000 measurements in 2 seconds (and presumably some relatively intelligent software engine to interpret all that).

There’s also an actual blood pressure watch-looking device from Omron. It’s not using PST – which we have to hope can be the future – but that means it’s legal and hopefully accurate!

And for all I tire somewhat of the pedometer type bands, the downward trend in pricing is exciting. It gets people to understand the benefits of having continuous data about their wellbeing. It gives company the revenue, an ability to scale , recruit talent, and ultimately generate more specialised products which may not otherwise have been possible.

Read more