Lee Kauffman , Editor | Jan 7, 2015
The article which follows by Stephanie
Baum of Medcity News compares groups of similar wearable technologies intended
to address an array of healthcare issues. Many of these devices are still under
development but provide an excellent vision of what the near future will bring.
I would urge our readers to not only
explore each of the products by following the links but to read the more detailed
comparisons available on the Medcitynews.com.
It’s really interesting to see the transformation in the
wearables market. On one level there has been a shift of tracking technology
from uber athletes to the mass market where someone running a 5k can get the
same meaningful information from their pulse and stride as an Olympic hopeful.
Even cooler, wearable devices are being used to compensate and evaluate
specific physical needs from eyesight to movement.
In MedCity’s second annual interpretation of the NCAA basketball
tourney brackets, we’re shifting our gaze from mobile health apps to wearable tech. The brackets
highlight some of the innovative technologies that have the potential to
improve communication, increase the options available to certain patient
populations and in some cases produce game changing technology.
Also, it’s not like we’re testing these things ourselves so
that’s worth bearing in mind. The criteria we’re using for the match-ups are a
combination of practical necessity and future potential. Is it filling an unmet
need? How helpful is it? How many stand to directly benefit from the device?
What’s the future potential for the device?
I have done my best to cut across a broad swathe. Although the
focus is devices around healthcare, I have also included a few companies with
wearable tech that I believe could have a significant impact on some patient
populations. One example of that are the gesture control devices developed by
Playtabase and Thalmic Labs.
1.Pristine use of Google
With all the excitement around Google Glass, I thought it would
good to include one company using the technology. Austin, Texas-based Pristine
is applying Google Glass to telemedicine. It is using it for consults with
remote physicians in a product called Eyesight because it can use it for better
camera angles than the devices typically used in telemedicine consults. Orcam
It is also applying it to checklists. OrCam tackles the inadequately met need
of the visually impaired with a camera attached to glasses that recognizes and
identifies through audio text and objects the user points to.
2. EnChroma glasses to aid people who are colorblind
vs Evena Medical glasses to help nurses see veins
EnChroma has developed sunglasses to help 8 percent of the world
male population who are colorblind. Evena Medical developed a set of special 3D
glasses that helps nurses and phlebotomists do a better job of finding veins
for blood tests and IVs.
3. Playtabase’s Reemo vs Thalmic Labs’ Myo
I picked Playtabase’s Reemo and Thalmic Labs’ Myo gesture
control tools because both have developed gesture control tools that have
potential applications for healthcare from helping increase the independence of
people with reduced mobility and as physical therapy tools. Rehabilitation.
4. Mimo babymonitorLark vs Technologies to
help adults sleep better
Which is more important — monitoring infants or sleep patterns
in adults? Actually, both technologies are interesting and worth a closer look.
Mimo uses embedded machine washable sensors in its baby outfit to measure
respiration. Lark technologies developed a wristband to track sleep time and
patterns. Sleep monitoring devices are a significant segment in the wearables
Warning Systems’ BSE bra Hypsilon’s smart vs
sock to detect
complications from diabetes
These are cool technologies and fit directly in the healthcare
space. How disruptive would it be to have a bra that could spot the early
stages of breast cancer when a tumor is beginning to form? What about a sock
that could detect complications from diabetes? Both have the potential to
achieve that winning and oft-repeated goal to improve outcomes and reduce
Cloud Phone 3Gvs.Pebble by Pebble
This may be the most consumer oriented of the match-ups. Both of
these technologies probably have the largest groups of potential users. The
Ollo Mobile cloud phone is designed to help families to monitor a member’s
health from great distances and in real-time. Pebble is a smartwatch that helps
users access information from their smartphone. Its inclusion also reflects the
growing interest in smartwatches in the wearables market.
7. Biosensics’ Leg Sys vsArtefact’s Dialog
Biosensics is tackling the issue of identifying and tracking
Parkinson’s disease with a tool that evaluates the telltale gait associated
with the condition. Artefact’s device to treat epilepsy is unique, but it also
focuses on a specific condition. I think it’s interesting to have these Mr.
Spock philosophical discussions. Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of
8.Zoll’s Life Vest
vs iHealth’s ECG
Why? Cardiology is a big area of development so it’s only
fitting that we reflect that in wearables tourney. There’s a lot of interest in increasing public awareness about and access
to defibrillators, so Zoll’s solution to have a defibrillator you
carry around with you if you are at increased risk for needing one seems like
one way to address this challenge. iHealth has developed a group of wearable
and wireless sensors to track cardiovascular conditions, including its ECG
device to detect arrhythmias, which unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas at the start of the year.”