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Wearable Tech Puts Wearers On The Frontline Of Healthcare [Future Of Health]

PSFK Labs looks at how wearable technology is enabling wearers to become more involved with decisions about their health.

PSFK Labs
PSFK Labs on February 26, 2014. @psfk

As we begin to see the mainstream adoption of health-related technologies from mobile apps to wearable devices in everyday life, their is a corresponding shift towards a more preventative model of wellness that is being lead by consumers. Once the sole purview of medical professionals, individual access to these new tools and data sources is now giving everyday people the ability to monitor their lifestyles and make smarter decisions about their health.

In our Future of Health report, PSFK Labs’ refers to this trend as Holistic Tracking. Below, we explore a number of examples that are going beyond fitness statistics to harness a wider range of biometric data, empowering people to proactively manage their health.

Athos - Holistic tracking

Athletic clothing company Athos has created a full-body workout suit that is embedded with sensors to track a variety of fitness metrics during workouts. The California-based brand’s compression workout apparel is lined with sensors that record heart rate and breathing information, while central “core” units track muscle movement through built-in accelerometers. All of the information is broadcasted to a smartphone application where users can see their total muscle effort, reps, and heart rate among eight other composite metrics from their workout. Through passive monitoring, the wristband aims to visualize bio-data for the biggest factors of health, allowing users to monitor their bodies during exertion without much burden, while facilitating improvements in behavior.

Endotheliometer - holistic tracking copy

The Endotheliometer measures key cell layers in blood cells to gather signals of ‘wear and tear’ and gages a person’s overall health as they age. Created by researchers at Lancaster University in the UK, the measurement device is worn on the wrist and examines cell cycle changes in the endothelium – a layer of cells that coats the inside of the body’s blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. Due to its proximity to the circulatory and lymphatic systems, the endothelium offers a proxy to their overall health, giving insight into how a patient’s body is aging, particularly with individuals who are predisposed to cardiovascular diseases. This process offers a new approach in estimating a patient’s cardiovascular age which can be helpful when used in contrast with the patient’s overall health, allowing for early discovery of conditions and the ability to take necessary steps to avoid further complications.

Screen-shot-2013-10-29-at-8.08.45-AM copy

Airo is a health and wellness wristband that captures a range of data points around exercise and stress, eating habits and sleep. Developed by Canadian company AIRO Wellness, the wristband projects LED light into the bloodstream to detect metabolites associated with carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. By scanning the nutrients in the bloodstream, Airo is able to give explicit feedback on how the body processes ‘good’ or ‘bad’ nutrients. In addition, AIRO tracks sleep and exercise by monitoring wrist movement patterns during sleep mode, and heart rate variability and motion when in exercise mode. All the data is collected and visualized on a mobile application, facilitating behavioral change over time using gentle nudges towards better outcomes and shared information to inform wearers.

These cutting edge examples and more from the Holistic Tracking trend start off a theme called Behavioral Nudge, which can be found in our latest Future of Health report.

With the help of our partner Boehringer IngelheimPSFK Labs has released the latest Future of Health Report, which highlights the four major themes and 13 emerging trends shaping the evolving global landscape of healthcare. To see more insights and thoughts on the Future of Health visit the PSFK page.

Contributed by: Wesley Robison

Images via: Techbeat, EndotheliometerAthos and Airo

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