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Advances in medicine are producing loads of valuable data. The challenge is to use these data efficiently. Here are six examples of how data intelligence and smart devices are saving lives.
Diagnostic computer assists emergency doctors
IBM’s Watson computer system has beaten the world’s best chess masters and the quiz wizards of the famous TV show Jeopardy. The unique strength of Watson is scanning enormous amounts of information to learn from it. Now IBM Watson Health is using this super computing power to crunch an enormous variety of medical data for better patient care. Watson analyses structured and unstructured medical imaging data, patient data, population and research data from disconnected data silos. The objective is to integrate and interpret these vital data and to make them readily available to the doctor in the operating theatre.
Smart contact lens measures blood sugar
Google X-lab has developed an intelligent contact lens for patients with diabetes. The lens measures the glucose levels by analyzing tears. In the past, diabetics had to prick their finger time and again to analyze a drop of blood. In the future they will only have to wear a contact lens. When the insulin levels fall too low, the lens will trigger an alarm to a wireless transmitter. The smart lens still requires lots of testing and medical trials before it can go to market.
Wi-Fi scale watches over heart failure patients
In a pilot project in Sjöbo, Sweden, a group of heart failure patients received Wi-Fi-enabled scales. Patients need to weigh themselves at home every day. The results are sent to their doctors automatically via a wireless data stream. Rapid weight gain is a common indicator of deterioration in heart failure patients. By using the scale at home, the patients don’t have to come in for checkups and the doctors can detect anomalies in time.
Assault alarm apps target helpers your way
Many types of assault alarms are available today as apps. Users allow their friends or other users of the app to trace them in real time, when the alarm is set off. When you tap the alarm button a text message or a push notification with your location is sent out to the nearest members of your safety network. The Swedish app ‘Not Alone’ triggers an alarm when the headphones are ripped out of the mobile device.
Shirt measures heartbeat
Wristbands for health and fitness scanning are popular. Google, Samsung, Microsoft and basically all of the major IT companies have launched their smart wristbands. The Swedish biometrics company MedTech West, is experimenting with similar technology implanted in regular clothing. How does your heart feel? Ask your shirt.
Sensors safeguard senior citizens’ independence
Most elderly people prefer to go on living independently in their own homes, as long as they can. But how can we protect and watch over them with full peace of mind? Smart sensors in the home can check whether older people take their medication, have a good heart rate, are sleeping well and haven’t fallen down. This enables senior citizens to live at home longer. Moreover, health care resources can be used more efficiently.