Gadgets and apps will collect and analyze data about our metabolism to create snapshots of our health, while AI will provide us with diagnosis and recommendations for adequate nutrition, exercise and medical treatments.
After smartphones and tablets, the next domain where big technology companies hope to cash in big money is a market of wearable technologies such as smart watches, glasses, and clothes equipped with various sensors. Companies are trying to find the most effective methods and services where all these information can be put to use.
Apple announced its Apple Watch release for the first trimester of 2015. This is definitely one of the most anticipated devices on the market. Many analysts believe it will start the revolution in the field, much as the iPad did with the market of tablets. One of the things this gadget will be able to do is to aggregate data relevant to your health and integrate them with Apple’s existing HealthKit platform, now available on IOS8. It didn’t take long for Google to respond to such incentive. Their solution for gathering information about the user’s health comes in a form of Android app called Google Fit, which is compatible with all Android Wear devices on the market. Although their Microsoft Health platform is present on the market for some time now, Microsoft decided to go level up with Microsoft Band which will be able to integrate with Apple’s HealthKit. Samsung too has already introduced several models of smart watches and bracelets that should be working on a platform named SAMI, which is supposed to analyze health information received from these devices. Everyone wants a piece of $6 billion cake that wearable market is expected to reach by 2018.
All these companies have the same goal – to track and share all useful health, medical and fitness information to those who can read the measurements and extract relevant information about your health, like physicians, medical consultation services, fitness centers, dietitians and the like. Data about your heart rhythms, blood pressure, body temperature, sleep, and even diet, obtained from various sensors, would be stored and shared between different wearable devices and applications. This way health care can be more personalized and preventive.
Options for exploitation of these data are endless. Wearable devices and health applications could one day provide doctors, personal trainers, and hospitals a comprehensive overview of your health displayed in a second, saving much time needed for tests and analyses. Thanks to data collected on a day-to-day basis, physicians could have updated, detailed insight into indicators of your overall health, and could respond much earlier to any problem that neither you nor he/she was aware of. This can especially be very handy for monitoring the condition of patients with chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, even giving them early warnings about potential upcoming heart attack.
With supercomputers, like IBM’s Watson, which use sophisticated algorithms to evaluate different data gathered from patients, establish models which combine these data with your genome sequence, and recommend treatments that can be used by physicians, we will enter a new era of AI-based health care, available at a stroke of a button.
Many people could find readily available personal biometric data and information about their health problems quite unsettling. Naturally, all of this raises many concerns about privacy issues and possible misuse of information shared with apps and stored in the cloud. The faster the law catches up with these life-changing technologies, the better.