Interesting digital health ideas to consider
Neutrogena’s skin scanner
Gadgets for analyzing your skin are present on the beauty market for some time already, S-Skin introduced its microneedle patch and portable device at last year’s CES. What makes Neutrogena’s SkinScanner unique is that it attaches to your smartphone. The device takes a magnified image of your skin and measures the moisture content. An AI-enabled app called Skin 360 then analyzes the data and gives your skin a 0 to 100 rating and shows how it’s improving over time. You’ll see pores and wrinkles, all the details of your skin in a high-resolution image. That could be useful to a certain extent, but also lets women obsess about their looks, which might not be that healthy.
RightEye’s EyeQ tests
Did you know that you can assess your brain-health from your eye movement? And what about the assessment of a series of conditions, your reading, and sports vision? RightEye, developer of eye-tracking tests and therapies unveiled its latest eye-testing package called EyeQ in Las Vegas.
EyeQ gives people a closer look at their health using quick, computer game-style vision tests on an eye-tracking computer. The tests, which only take a few minutes, generate an instant EyeQ Report that provides results in an easy-to-understand format to support discussion with doctors on diagnosis and recommended therapies.
Me.Mum’s fertility test
A small Croatian start-up, a mom and dad trying to have a baby developed the smartphone accessory called me.mum able to detect whether a woman is fertile based on a small saliva sample. The camera attachment can detect mold-like particles in the saliva that signals when she is at her most fertile.The small, elegant and simple device makes it easy for women to test their fertility anytime anywhere. I hope that we can test the attachment within The Medical Futurist team soon!
Willow’s portable breast pump
Breast pumps allow moms to collect breast milk when they’re separated from their babies, and help them keep up their milk supply during breastfeeding. However, they are usually too large and inconvenient to carry around, they have many parts to be sterilized, etc. Now, Willow wants to change that with its smart portable breast pump. You don’t need external tubes, cords or bottles – moreover, you do not need to schedule extra time for pumping. It’s quiet and on the connected app, you see all the relevant information you need.
Under Armor’s smart shoes
American sports company, Under Armor, believes that smart technology should be incorporated into items that we already use. That’s why they designed shoes with connective technology measuring all the vital signs and parameters that other devices do on your wrist. At CES 2018, they introduced the latest series whose production focused on design and performance first and integrating tracking capabilities later. That means wearers finally won’t have to compromise on having a great shoe just for the sake of having a “smart” shoe. It’s the optimal combination!
Robotic pillow to snuggle?
The idea behind a peanut-looking, greyish, soft pillow endowed with snuggling capabilities is that hugging something – well, rather someone – helps people fall asleep. To solve the unbridgeable difference between an object and a person, the Dutch company, Somnox, built a sleeping robot – with lullabies, guided meditations or breathing rhythms to follow. The device is also stuffed full of sensors that have yet to be activated, but it’s thought that the system will eventually offer sleep tracking as well. Their creators said it’s perfectly imaginable that users will form an attachment to their pillows just as kids with their fluffy sleep aids. Although I understand the rationale behind it, it’s still a bit weird. Would you use it?
Cancer buddy for kids?
Getting down on a similar line as the robotic pillow, American insurance company, Aflac developed a social companion robot, namely a fluffy robotic duck, with the aim to offer comfort to kids suffering from cancer. The robot, which was unveiled at CES, has been recognized as the winner of the prestigious Tech for a Better World Innovation Award at CES 2018. The smart companion emulates young patients’ moods, endures the same often-painful therapies, and dances, quacks and nuzzles to help comfort children when they need it most.
And why a duck? It is the icon of the insurance company. Well, the idea to help somehow ease the pain, suffering or boredom of hospitalized kids is great, but I’m not sure about the realization.
Headband for sleeping?
Philips introduced its own sleep sensor, Smartsleep at CES. Its a weirdly shaped wearable headband connected to a mobile app. You basically have to sleep in a helmet that connects to a forehead sensor, reference sensor behind the right ear, and two foam encased speakers that deliver minimally audible “boost tones,” according to a statement. The company says the device helps users increase daytime energy, improve cognitive functions, boost alertness, and enhance fluency and memory.
It sounds like the digital health version of hypnotizing users in their sleep, which comes with a lot of baggage and is rather considered creepy than cool. Pour some more money into research, Philips!
Measuring calorie intake through your skin?
A Russian company, Healbe developed its device, GoBe 2 for tracking calorie intake through your skin. By reading the glucose in your cells. The method was questioned by many healthcare professionals and experts, since as Engadget expressed it, the method seemed to be as feasible as capturing a unicorn fart. After their GoBe entered the market, its sleep and fitness tracking features were convincing, but the calorie measurements were inaccurate.
Now, the company revised its device and also claims auto-tracking hydration levels and the user’s emotional state. We are still skeptical – although we would be open to test it to prove us wrong.
Is a water bottle putting vitamins into your drink?
How would you feel about a smart water bottle dosing you on vitamins? American start-up, LifeFuels, realized the idea. They claim that the bottle will put vitamins in your water based on your needs. The app has three components—a portable drink maker, a FuelPod and an app that work together to make the beverage based on the user’s preference and needs.
The problem is that this way you cannot estimate accurately how much and what kind of vitamin a person needs. Moreover, there are many fat-soluble vitamins that you cannot dissolve in drinking water.