Using Sensor Technology to Lower Elder Care Costs

To track seniors’ medical conditions and surroundings more closely, researchers are experimenting with more advanced smart sensor networks that provide remote caregivers real-time insight into the health and well-being of in-home patients. For example, research teams are exploring how to retrofit homes with sensor networks that monitor a resident’s behavior and activity levels.

These sensor-enabled homes use machine learning to recognize behavior patterns such as eating, sleeping, and movement, and then identify and report any signs of illness or cognitive degeneration to caretakers and physicians via the Web or mobile networks. The monitoring capabilities also alert physicians to changes in the physical and mental health of their senior patients, and allow them to intervene before adverse events occur. Finally, enabling seniors to live safely in their homes for as long as possible will likely help these individuals retain their sense of independence and self-confidence longer.

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Google Fit – Hub For Health Tracking

Google has jumped into the health aggregation game with Apple and Samsung, by unveiling a service that manages health and fitness data generated by myriad apps and wearable sensors, the company announced at its I/O conference for developers today.

The idea is to help create a comprehensive view of people’s health by aggregating things like weight, diet and even heart rate into a data platform that Google will manage, and which other apps can tap into with users’ permission.

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Apple HealthKit APIs

iOS 8 offers developers robust frameworks including HealthKit APIs that provide the ability for health and fitness apps to communicate with each other. With your permission, each app can use specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage your health and fitness. For example, your blood pressure app could share its data with a physician app, such as the Mayo Clinic app, so your doctor can provide high-quality guidance and care.

“We believe Apple’s HealthKit will revolutionize how the health industry interacts with people,” said John Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo Clinic president and CEO. “We are proud to be at the forefront of this innovative technology with the Mayo Clinic app.”

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Simband, sensors key to Samsung wearables push

Samsung on Wednesday made a new push into digital health, and it doesn’t want to go it alone.

The Korean electronics giant introduced new open software and reference design hardware to better measure certain health characteristics of wearables users, including heart rate and blood pressure. Its Simband fitness band reference design incorporates a new sensor module that can be used in future wearables, while a cloud-based software platform called Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions, or SAMI, can collect sensor data from the devices for analysis.

Better understanding one’s physical well-being is “the single biggest opportunity of our generation,” Young Sohn, chief strategy officer of Samsung, said during an event Wednesday at the SFJazz Center in San Francisco. “Our goal is someday you have sensors that know much more about your body.”

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Health Care Apps Offer Patients an Active Role

If you have young children, you’ve most likely endured caring for an ear infection or two. Or perhaps you’ve experienced a mysterious rash. Those situations generally mean a trip to the doctor’s office and time away from your job, if you work outside the home.

But what if you could snap a photo of your rash, or your child’s ear canal, and send it to your doctor? That’s the idea behind a new breed of apps and devices that increasingly put medical tools in the hands of consumers.

The trend of do-it-yourself examinations and tests is part of a shift in health care toward consumer participation that began with online health information sites and is accelerating with advances in mobile technology.

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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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