Scientists have harvested energy from a guinea pig’s inner ear and used it to power a small wireless transmitter

mHealth: Wearable Technology


Wearable technology was huge at CES – the BBC even called it a revolution, and whilst this is an area that is growing in popularity and advancing at a rate of knots, the type of technology being developed by those at chip manufacturer Qualcomm, aiming to enable a two week warning of a heart attack, is unfortunately not yet commonplace. Here, Professor Christopher James, Chair of the IEEE UKRI Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society (EMBS) Chapter and Professor of Healthcare Technology at the University of Warwick talks about is the type of tech that is currently available, and some of the enabling factors that can help the futuristic wearable healthcare technology solutions to become a reality.

Re-purposing Smartphone technology

Much of the technology that we’re seeing in the mHealth space at the moment uses existing technology such as the miniaturised chips found in Smartphones as a starting point. Smartphones have advanced to such a level that the technology is now ripe for repurposing. Google glasses are a great example of this and fellow IEEE member Dr Kevin Curran has discussed this in more detail in his blog, “Smarter Than Your Smartphone: Are “Google Goggles” the Next Big Thing in Tech?”.

What we are also seeing is hardware add-ons for Smartphones which can in theory transform them into medical devices. Things like adding an extra lens to the camera on an iPhone to look at blood samples, and even using cameras to measure heart rate. This raises a few big questions – compliance is a huge issue in the healthcare space; anyone can add technology to a Smartphone but does that make it a certified medical device?

Self diagnosis is another big issue. Googling a headache is a dangerous game and can lead to all sorts of web-doctor diagnoses, and if non-medically trained people were to start using this technology to check their own health, the risks of misdiagnosis are enormous, creating unnecessary worry.

Read more:mHealth: Wearable Technology — Urban Times.

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