The Internet of Things (IoT) has evolved beyond the hype to transform how we live and work. The ubiquity of fitness-trackers (like FitBit) also suggests that people are now using smart devices to stay healthy.
These smart devices, including smartwatches, give us real-time insights on what’s going on with our bodies. While some might appear to be a fad (that’s about to come and go), there are a lot of smart devices that can help us stay healthy and have a better quality of life.
According to ReportLinker, the global healthcare IoT market is forecasted to reach a mouthwatering $534.3 billion by 2025 (growing at a CAGR of 19.9% over the next five years).
So how can IoT help people stay healthy? Let’s take a look.
CES 2020 saw oral health companies take the electric toothbrush to the next level by making them smart. These latest innovations will help combat gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental complications.
Oral-B iO, for example, is a smart toothbrush equipped with sensors that are supported by an artificial intelligence-powered coaching app. While it helps ensure that your mouth is thoroughly cleaned, it’ll also ask you questions about your gum health.
The Colgate Plaqless Pro (winner of the CES Best Innovation award), on the other hand, comes with a plaque detector. This neat innovation will let you know if you’ve managed to remove all the plaque from your teeth every time you brush.
So it’s safe to say that these smart toothbrushes will go a long way to ensure dental health.
There are a wide array of smart health monitors these days, when used together, you’ll be well-placed to live a long and healthy life.
Omron Evolv, for example, is a highly portable device that helps measure, record, and share your blood pressure data with your doctor using the Omron Connect App.
Unlike blood pressure monitors of the past, this device can leverage a heart health algorithm to measure multiple data points and cut out interference from movement (to provide clinically-accurate readings).
Withings Thermo is a smart thermometer that helps people monitor fever. Unlike traditional thermometers, this smart device isn’t intrusive and can provide highly accurate temperature measurements that are synched automatically on a dedicated app.
Withings Thermo gets its readings from the temporal artery and is equipped with 16 infrared sensors that are built to handle more than 4,000 measurements. This is revolutionary and is a sign of things to come within healthcare IoT.
Smart monitoring technologies also go beyond tracking changes in your body to monitoring changes in your environment. The Netatmo Healthy Home Coach, for example, is designed to monitor the quality of the air we breathe.
Beyond detecting air pollution levels, this smart device is designed to monitor the humidity, noise levels, and temperature in your home.
Smart clothing from Sensoria, especially their smart socks, help people minimize the risk of injury. For example, if you’re a jogger, these smart socks, unlike other garments that track your heart rate, will not only track how fast you’re running but also your foot’s impact on the ground.
Through real-time awareness, you will be able to maintain good form while minimizing the risk of stress or injury.
Smart socks and other clothing with built-in IoT sensors also come with compatible apps that provide customizable suggestions that can help you improve your workout routine. These smart textile-based innovations feel like ordinary clothing and can be thrown into a washing machine.
The open-source initiative, Open Artificial Pancreas System (OpenAPS), is a closed-loop insulin delivery system that not only measures the patient’s glucose levels in the bloodstream but also delivers insulin as needed.
What’s different about this innovation is the fact that a company didn’t build it. OpenAPS was started five years ago by husband and wife duo Scott Leibrand and Dana Lewis.
In this scenario, Leibrand hacked his wife’s Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) device and an insulin pump. When he did this, he was able to automate the delivery of insulin into her system.
This was achieved by connecting a Raspberry Pi to the data feed from the CGM and writing code to complete the “loop.” By automating the delivery of insulin, this device can potentially change the lives of people with diabetes. For example, it’s already allowing them to sleep through the night without worrying about night-time hypoglycemia.
While other connected devices listed here are available out of the box, OpenAPS remains open-source and encourages a DIY approach to automated insulin delivery.
Patients often forget to take their medicine, and this can have dire consequences. To enable strict adherence, Proteus Digital Health developed smart ingestible sensors that come in pill form and dissolve in the stomach.
These tiny sensors then produce a signal that is picked up by wearable technology and relayed to a mobile app. This approach confirms that the patient took their medication as directed by a medical professional.
While swallowing smart sensors might sound highly invasive, it’s much better than risking further damage to one’s health or even death by not taking the medication.
Research suggests that these ingestible sensors are ideal for treating Type 2 Diabetes and hypertension. When used as intended, these connected sensors can improve patient outcomes and create more informed dialogs with physicians about their treatment.
At a macro-level, as IoT helps us build smart cities, we’ll be better placed to combat the spread of infectious diseases.
For example, factors involved in the spread of communicable diseases, including climate, sanitation, and water supply, can be managed efficiently and effectively to stifle the outbreak of an epidemic. This approach will be critical to survival in a world where antibiotics have become less effective.
So not only have we entered a decade where IoT can help us stay healthy, but also an age where we can potentially improve the overall living conditions of populations spread across the planet.
However, getting there won’t be easy with the ongoing tech talent shortage. Startups and established companies alike need to take advantage of staff augmentation solutions, offshore IoT development services, and open-source technologies to create a healthier planet.
Intersog is a Chicago-based software construction and IT consulting company providing North America and European clients with IoT application development solutions for more than 14 years. From connected ideation to data integration, Intersog offers custom design and development for healthcare, logistics, digital marketing, eCommerce and other companies to help move their businesses forward.