Wearable tech and its potential to save lives

category: Trends

sectors: Healthcare

Wearable tech is already hugely popular amongst the modern consumer, triggered by Fitbit and Apple Watch. From fitness tracking to managing emails, various wearables are helping people manage their lives and work on a day-to-day basis.

In business, this caliber of technology can streamline processes; reducing complications and the time it takes to complete tasks. In restaurants, they can improve communication between kitchen and staff, notifying waiters when food is ready to be taken to the table.

In retail, they can deliver up-to-date inventory to sales assistants. This allows them to perform confidently and provide accurate information to customers. Telecoms Tech News reported that smart glasses with apps such as GoInStore can enable staff to “Connect to online customers, giving them the ability to demonstrate and describe all a product’s features, without requiring the customer to go to the store.”

Connecting the consumer market to the healthcare industry, The Oura ring claims to measure sleep, providing information to help promote a healthier lifestyle personal to each user. Developed by Finland-based startup Oura Health, the ring is designed to be worn round the clock and helps users understand how their body responds to their lifestyle. Co-founder and president Petteri Lahtela claims they are “Putting the sleep lab into the normal daily life context.”

Medical professionals have also begun to embrace wearables. As well as internal communication tools, wearables are now being integrated into patient care – reducing the need for less desirable treatments such as drugs.

Image source: Wired

On-body devices are being used for treatment of both mental and physical conditions. Used to diagnose and monitor diseases, wearable tech can also be used to minimize symptoms. The Emma device created by researcher Haiyan Zhang at Microsoft, is a wristband that helps steady the tremor of a Parkinson’s sufferer. A noisy vibration signal stimulates the patient’s hand and allows them to perform tasks such as writing, which they wouldn’t usually be able to do. Often, these types of solutions are cheaper and require less effort than invasive treatments or drugs with risky side effects.

Image source: Wired

Empatica is the startup behind Embrace, a new device that has been used to study epilepsy, depression, autism and can retrieve medical-quality readings that can indicate levels of stress. The wrist device can be used to detect convulsive seizures for epilepsy suffers. During seizures, parts of the brain can shut down and if this happens for long periods of time, it can mean the patient never wakes up. Co-founder of Empatica and researcher at MIT Media Lab, Rosalind Picard, says “Experts think that these deaths could have been prevented if an alert had been given…We can give this alert."

In a time where people are becoming increasingly interested in their mental and physical health, wearable tech will continue to gather momentum. Allowing people to become more in tune with their own bodies, they create opportunities for medical professionals to monitor, study and treat certain conditions.

Learn more about wearable technology in business here.