Healthcare wearables and devices are increasingly becoming popular in the consumer tech space as people now actively monitor their health to stay fit all the time. So, it is not surprising that they created quite a stir at the Consumer Electronics Show 2019 in Las Vegas amid the cacophony of televisions, robots, 5G, automation and smart home devices. From self-care, elderly-care and pain relief to fitness trackers and sleep devices, here is a look at the innovative gadgets that wowed people at the CES.
Virtual Health Assistants
You need precision to take care of the sick and the elderly. Meet Pria, a virtual home health assistant from Black & Decker, which serves the purpose well. It automates medication management and you can control the device with voice command. Using the smartphone app, it enables the caregiver to monitor an individual's medication and healthcare schedule. Pria can be used to schedule up to 28 doses, put reminders, and dispense proper medication on schedule. With the help of voice command and a built-in camera, patients can easily reach out to families and caregivers.
Then there is Addison Care, developed by Electronic Caregiver Pro Health System, on similar lines as Pria. The company claims it is the world's first virtual caregiver. Addison is a state-of-the-art, 3D-animated caregiver, designed to engage with ageing and chronically ill people at home and supplement their care by providing several health and safety features. Most importantly, it is capable of 24/7 in-home check-ups by monitoring activity, sending out medication reminders and verifying adherence, while providing real-time assessments. It also reads vital signs and conducts in-home examinations using company devices. Besides, it measures health performance and rewards users for making progress. Addison Care will come with 15-inch monitors, all strategically placed throughout the residence, to ensure easy access. It will also support two-way conversations.
Moving beyond tracking activity and heart rate, there are specialised wearables that can monitor bladder and baby vitals during pregnancy. Developed by Triple W, DFree claims to be a non-invasive ultrasound that detects a change in the bladder size as one accumulates urine. It scans the lower abdomen and is attached to the underwear with the help of a medical tape or clip through which it sends notifications to the DFree app. This comes in handy for a caregiver who needs to remind a patient when to empty the bladder. The Owlet Band, on the other hand, helps a would-be mom to monitor her baby's vital signs during pregnancy. The band can be worn around the abdomen and is able to track sleep position, hear the baby's heart rate, automatically count baby kicks and notify contractions.
Pain Relief and Recovery
Quell, from NeuroMetrix, is a 100 per cent drug-free system that uses nerve-stimulation technology to block chronic pain. At CES, the developer unveiled its smartest, smallest and most powerful wearable therapeutic 2.0, which is 20 per cent more powerful than its predecessor. The device is worn on the leg irrespective of which part of your body hurts. The company claims it is an advanced form of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator. It sends neural pulses to the brain to trigger a natural pain relief response in the central nervous system. The device is powered by a proprietary neurostimulation microchip and a new, intensive therapy option will be added to Quell 2.0 that delivers intensive nerve stimulation, concentrated into a 15-minute session.
Exosystems, a South Korean healthcare wearable company, has come up with an out-of-the-box device called exoRehab that provides patients with personalised guidance during neuromuscular rehabilitation. It aims to provide most effective treatment via personalised physical and electrical stimulation programmes based on a user's musculoskeletal data. Treatment is carried out using exoRehab's electrical stimulation through a gamified programme. For example, a patient with a knee injury would wear the exoRehab device, and with the help of her doctor, activate its training software to receive neuromuscular electrical stimulation.
Somnox has come up with Sleep Robot, a device which will help you fall asleep fast and sleep longer than you usually do. As your breathing naturally adjusts its pace with a different breathing pattern, the Sleep Robot simulates breathing rhythms to slow down natural breathing so that you can relax and easily fall asleep. It can function as an external point which will calm your mind and reduce stress. Philips is also expanding its SmartSleep portfolio and has unveiled SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band at the CES. The sensor is worn around the chest and can track sleep pattern and changing positions. As lying on the back makes snoring worse, the sensor identifies your position while sleeping and vibrates to alert you so that you can change your position and the snoring will stop.