My Spiroo Can Tell Your Doctor When You’re Out Of Breath

Asthma sufferers use a tool called a peak flow meter to see how much air is passing out of their lungs. It is useful to assess when flare-ups are happening and what outside allergens or problems might be causing a bronchial flare-up. Until recently, all that was available to take this measurement was a very basic mechanical device.

My Spiroo is about as big as a traditional mechanical peak flow meter but has a headphone jack to connect to your phone.

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Samsung LED smart Bulbs

Samsung has rolled out a new line of LED light bulbs that promise long life and energy efficiency. The cool part is that the bulbs are in several form factors to make them work in different lighting situations. Samsung says that the new models are lighter and more efficient than previous offerings including a PAR-series.

The Smart Bulb with the silver section in the middle has Bluetooth tech inside. By using Bluetooth Samsung eliminates the need for a wireless access point or WiFi network to control the bulb. An app installs on a smartphone or tablet and allows the user to control up to 64 Smart Bulbs at one time with no other equipment required.

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Pregnancy home monitoring system

The Bellabeat Connected System enables pregnant moms to experience the joy at listening to their unborn baby’s heartbeat and share their experience with their loved ones through the social media or intimately.

The Bellabeat team believes that by giving women a way to autonomously track and share their pregnancy experiences this engaging, comforting and enjoyable at-home experience will become a part of the contemporary prenatal care. With innovative sound visualization, tool for counting fetal movements, vibrant illustrations of fetal development and a tool for tracking and planning the pregnancy weight gain, the Bellabeat App allows mothers-to-be to connect with their yet unborn baby in an intimate and dynamic way and find information on how to lead a healthier pregnancy.

The Bellabeat App is focused on community engagement and is including a new social platform called BellaBeat Global where pregnant women can interact amongst each other, exchange experiences and share information from the BellaBeat App to create an organized and social pregnancy diary.

Through the Bellabeat Global platform, the community will engage with data visualizations and infographics based on uploaded pregnancy tracking data and find useful information about their pregnancy and health.

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New Smartphone App That Monitors Blood Flow

People with blood flow issues that need to take on a regular basis anticoagulant medication to keep their blood from clotting will soon have a new smartphone app and accessory that will tell them in a few seconds everything they need to know about their blood circulation’s parameters, only with a touch of the screen.

The new smartphone app that monitors blood flow was developed by a team working at a micro-engineering laboratory within the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The researchers hope their app will improve the lives of millions of people who need to test their blood for coagulation at home on a regular basis.

The technology involves a thin layer of film juxtaposed on the smartphones’ screen. The patient “gives” a drop of blood through capillary action and the app test if there are any troubles going on with their blood flow and potential risks of bleeding.

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Personal Data for the Public Good

Individuals are tracking a variety of health-related data via a growing number of wearable devices and smartphone apps. More and more data relevant to health are also being captured passively as people communicate with one another on social networks, shop, work, or do any number of activities that leave “digital footprints.”

With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Health Data Exploration (HDE) project conducted a study to better understand the barriers to using personal health data in research from the individuals who track the data about their own personal health, the companies that market self-tracking devices, apps or services and aggregate and manage that data, and the researchers who might use the data as part of their research.

Individuals were very willing to share their self-tracking data for research, in particular if they knew the data would advance knowledge in the fields related to PHD such as public health, health care, computer science and social and behavioral science. Most expressed an explicit desire to have their information shared anonymously and we discovered a wide range of thoughts and concerns regarding thoughts over privacy.

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Three Ideas for Wearable Designers

Current solutions for epilepsy–which afflicts some three million people in the U.S. alone–fall roughly into two categories: wearable sensors that can detect seizures and alert family members, and journals, both paper and digital, that patients use for logging daily data points like mood and medication.

Dialog does both of these things in even smarter ways. The wearable component is a module with an e-ink screen and a bevy of sensors, designed to be worn directly on the skin, like a sticker.

The module communicates with a smartphone app, and a cloud-based tool aggregates data for the use of patients and doctors alike. The aim, generally speaking, is to harness the forthcoming wave of cheap, powerful sensors to empower patients–and to ensure they get the help they need when seizures do occur.

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Samsung’s Galaxy S5 not medical device

Samsung Electronics Co.’s newest smartphone Galaxy S5 will not be categorized as a healthcare instrument despite having a heart rate sensor, the medical ministry said Monday, freeing it from regulations that could have complicated its sales launch.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it plans to revise the current law to distinguish heart rate sensors used for leisure purposes from those serving medical purposes.

“Although the Galaxy S5 is technically a medical device under the current law, it will be excluded from the category after the revision,” an official from the ministry said. “It will take about 25 days for the amendment.”

The ministry added major countries such as the United States, Japan and Britain already follow similar categorization.

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Apple patent application hints at future health-related plans

Apple’s “Wrist Pedometer Step Detection” patent application focuses on fitness. It describes “optimizations for detecting steps” for when a pedometer is worn on the wrist.

Although pedometers are nothing new, Apple’s method for detecting steps is actually somewhat sophisticated. The technology analyzes “peak-to-peak threshold” to determine when a person takes a step.

Based on the time elapsed between those thresholds, it can infer when another step was taken, according to the patent application. The technology can also automatically determine whether the pedometer is being worn on the wrist.

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Can Mobile Technology Cut Health Costs?

Researchers at the Brookings Institution studied China and the United States—two countries that face similar challenges in reducing health care costs due to aging populations and are looking at mobile technology as part of the solution, said Darrell West, founding director of the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings.

Among the barriers to widespread use of mobile health technology in China and the United States is the fact that physicians don’t get reimbursed for using the technology to deliver care. Also, developers are unclear about the rules and regulations surrounding mobile health applications, which limits innovation.

Among the benefits of mobile health listed in the report are that it can provide rural populations with access to urban specialists, reduce inefficiencies and errors in prescriptions and medical testing, help physicians remotely monitor patients with chronic illnesses, and remind patients about appointments and taking their medicine.

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Healthcare in Your Hand

According to industry estimates, by 2015 there will be 500 million smartphone users worldwide utilizing healthcare applications. By 2018, half of the more than 3.4 billion smartphone and tablet users will have downloaded at least one medical or health app.

For most apps, the recreational use of the product does not hold long-term implications. However, there are those apps that could literally mean the difference between life and death. And that’s where the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to step in.

Mobile medical apps that will be regulated are those:

  • used as an accessory to medical device already regulated by the FDA. For example, an application that allows a healthcare professional to make a specific diagnosis by viewing a medical image from a picture archiving and communication system on a smartphone or a mobile tablet
  • that transform a mobile communications device into a regulated medical device by using attachments, sensors or other devices. For example, an application that turns a smartphone into an ECG machine to detect abnormal heart rhythms or determine if a patient is experiencing a heart attack

Mobile apps that will not be regulated include those intended to:

  • help patients/users self-manage their disease or condition without providing specific treatment suggestions
  • provide patients with simple tools to organize and track health information
  • provide easy access to information related to health conditions or treatments
  • help patients document, show or communicate potential medical conditions to healthcare providers.
  • automate simple tasks for healthcare providers
  • enable patients or providers to interact with personal health records

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