Wearables. So what?
Why camera-based technology will lead the next generation of health monitoring
Over the last few years, 'wearables' have become the hot new buzzword in the medical device industry. Innovative companies have worked to incorporate such essential equipment as ECGs, blood glucose readers, and ambulatory blood pressure monitors into t-shirts, hats, watches, and even shoe insoles.
These are great innovations and a recent IDC report suggest consumers and businesses will buy nearly 112 million wearable devices by 2018, a 78.4 per cent growth rate from 2014’s predicted sales of about 19 million units.
Their popularity is not surprising considering the apparent ease with which these devices promise to help us get fitter and be healthier. Elizabeth Lyons, senior author of the study and assistant professor at the Institute for Translational Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch, says “The feedback provided by these devices can be as, if not more, comprehensive than that provided by health care professionals”.
However, wearable technology that appears to be the next generation of medical devices are looking more like an inter-generational technology: at Oxehealth we've already taken a huge leap forward by using cameras to offer completely contactless health monitoring.
Using our patented Oxecam technology, we can read important health parameters, such as heart rate and breathing rate via a camera, at distance, in real world situations. The use of a camera gives many exciting benefits. For example, through the use of recognition technologies a single camera can track the health data of multiple subjects and provide readings of multiple parameters. It also enables context to be added to any data as the camera can observe what a subject is doing. Camera-based monitoring can also overcome one of the biggest issues with wearables user abandonment. A number of studies have highlighted this issue for example CCS Insight found that 40 per cent of wearable users had stopped using them either because they got bored of them or they forgot to put them on.
Camera-based health monitors don't suffer these issues of user abandonment as they are passive technologies capable of initiating monitoring automatically on sight, collecting our health data and then alerting us only when something interesting or untoward comes to light. Furthermore, cameras can easily be installed in homes and cars (all places where we spend a lot of time) with an attached power supply so they will never need recharging, they're hard to lose and they won't be subject to the wear and tear of a wearable.
When applied to the clinical environment these benefits increase further as infection control is improved, costs are reduced, and patients are better rested. All of this with no need to wear a hat, t-shirt or watch.
Cameras do of course incite concerns over privacy, but these are easily addressed by ensuring no images are stored or transmitted by these new types of monitors and by allowing users to opt in to being monitored.
Our patented Oxecam technology is at the forefront of its industry and can monitor anyone from neonates to geriatrics, wherever they or their guardians chose – the possibilities are endless.
Contact us for more information.