Saturday, December 3, 2011

The New Wave of Medical Products for Smart Phones

There are a wave of new products coming for your smartphones which allow you to monitor your health.  This is just the vanguard.
While shopping in Best Buy we saw these interesting products on the shelf.

We have already covered this topic in a earlier post. The earlier post dealt with the research into it.  But this article will be with consumer products that are available now.  Enjoy and be fit!

iHealth selling for $99 is an interesting way to track your vital signs.

Here is a video found on their website which is very informative on this product.

Tanita is more upscale company dedicated to people who are serious about staying in shape and monitoring their weight and fat scale, etc.  Here is a video of one of their more upscale weight scales.  If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link:

Whitings is another company making digital scales which are veritable health computers which measure a multitude of factors about your weight, body fat, etc.  We include a great review from Geek Review for your perusal.  If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link:

Where is this all going?  No doubt smartphones will become diagnostic devices not just for doctors, but for consumers.  Saliva, urine, blood and other bodily fluids will be able to be analyzed through these phones.  A recent mobilemedia article states,
Users in the near future could collect saliva, blood or urine on an inexpensive, disposable microchip device called a lab on a chip, then send the sample to a lab for analysis. Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology in Daejeon are taking that innovation a step further, developing a process that allows a droplet of fluid to be pressed against a smartphone's touch screen for instant disease detection.
The researchers behind this approach are at the Korean Advanced Institute For Science and Technology in Daejeon Korea.  Drs. Hyun Gyu Park and Byoung Yeon Won (we could not fint him in the directory, we suspect his name was misspelled) are leading the research there. This device that would be attached has not been designed as proof of concept yet.  The article in New Scientist states,
The idea depends on a method the pair have devised to harness the way a touchscreen senses a fingertip's ability to store electric charge - known as its capacitance. The capacitive sensitivity of touchscreens is far higher than what is needed to sense our fingers as we play games or tap out tweets. "Since these touchscreens can detect very small capacitance changes we thought they could serve as highly sensitive detection platforms for disease biomarkers," says Park.
More thought will have to go behind the scenes to have both a manufacturing model and a business model.  But it seems very promising. 
The technology is not yet able to identify individual pathogens but Park sees the display's ability to differentiate between concentrations as a first step towards this. However, before the idea can be rolled out the built-in software on touchscreens that eliminates false-touch signals caused by moisture or sweat would need modifying. Park also plans to develop a film that can be stuck on a touchscreen to which the biomarkers will attach. "Nobody wants direct application of bio-samples onto their phone," he says. "This is potentially possible," says Harpal Minhas, editor of the journal Lab On A Chip. "But any changes to current production-line touchscreens would need to demonstrate huge financial benefits before they are implemented." And DNA sequencing, rather than concentration measurement, is more likely to be necessary for disease diagnosis, he adds.
We feel fairly certain that first dedicated devices will appear which the consumer can purchase.  Then, in time, more ancillary devices will arrive which can be attached to smartphones until smartphones are equipped with the technology built in. 

1 comment:

Phyllis Janes said...

I do have to question the reliability of these apps, I mean relying on the interface and sensors of the smartphone.  Isn't specialized sensors from specialized devices going to be more accurate?

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