Health technology is responsible for extending our lives and improving their quality, but as each year seems to prove we’re still at the beginning of what such tools can accomplish. In short order, we’ve moved from basic medical alert systems like Lifeline to wearable robotics that can analyze gait and prevent injury with a wide spectrum of tools in between.
So what does health technology look like today? These 4 tools offer a glimpse into the constantly shifting realm of personal health technology.
Improving Diabetes Care
Diabetes can significantly shorten an individual’s lifespan or cause severe disabilities ranging from amputation to blindness. Such complications make it vital that the disease be carefully managed. Luckily, technology is bringing that closer to the norm.
One potentially life changing app that recently hit the market is BlueLoop, a diabetes management app meant to help children manage their condition by linking all necessary parties – parents, the school nurse, or other caretakers. It can also help children learn to manage the condition independently.
Finding Greater Calm
Meditation has many proven benefits. It can aid those in recovery from addiction, relieve anxiety, and improve symptoms of depression. Even for those without significant mental health issues, meditation can relieve stress and improve focus.
There are numerous available meditation apps on the market today. Among the most popular are Headspace, Smiling Minds, and Calm. All of these aim to take meditation from an intimidating practice to a manageable, even comfortable one.
For amputees hoping to be fitted with advanced prosthetic limbs or paraplegics who want to walk with an exoskeleton, it’s not enough to have access to the basic technology. These systems rely on a deeper interface with the nervous system. Luckily, new wearable robots are bridging this gap effectively.
Through the use of sensors and other non-invasive systems, doctors are able to perfectly match robotic limbs to the user’s body and finely tune their gait to maintain better balance. This can reduce the likelihood of injury from falls.
Measuring The Body
In many ways, we’re shifting from a model in which medical technology is an add-on – something we pick up as needed or carry around on a separate device – to one in which those tools are an inseparable part of us. This includes biomarkers, sensors and chips, and even garments. One recent polymer innovation, a material called PolyPower, use a sensor fabric to measure breathing, posture, or swelling. This material can detect injuries or other irregularities through the wearer’s clothing.
Modern medical technology isn’t limited to the doctor’s office and it isn’t even necessarily separate from the body. As we shift from isolated tools and apps to devices worn on the body or even embedded in it, we’ll be able to treat our health conditions, monitor them, and transform the workings of the body as the deepest level. It’s a brave new world, but a great one.