If your body is your temple, it’s time to cover it with not just protective clothing but also with wearable devices that sense trouble and track your vital signs, head to toe.
The UAE pioneered the practice in the region, while globally the wearable health device industry is on fire.
Commercially, some companies are using it to harvest data and use it to their marketing advantage. PepsiCo and Coca Cola are for instance collecting crowd data at live concerts using ‘Lightwave bracelets’ to analyse audience engagement levels.
But health wise, why wearables?
Remote health monitoring can administer your wellbeing, pre-empt illnesses and lessen your hospitalization visits.
Adding to AI, 5G and 3D printing, biotechnology and IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) are changing disease management globally and regionally. Wearable devices and clinical sensors collect and collate patient metrics across a number of data points, while algorithms can analyze this information for actionable insights to spotlight early medical intervention.
You can find gadgets to track virtually any of your vitals, from an EEG neuro-transmitter to a heart rate monitor. Today you’re able to track your fitness goals or weight loss journey or use GPS tracking device to trace your kids’ whereabouts.
Contact tracing wearable devices, which track who has the virus and alert those who they have been in contact with, ensure quick quarantining and prevent from further spreading of viruses.
Gartner estimates the global wearable device market will exceed $87 bn in 2023 from $8 billion in 2020.
UAE and wearables
Since 2016, Dubai health authorities (DHA) challenged innovators to use genomics, analytics, telepresence and personalised medicine to create solutions for Dubai’s population that would enhance diagnostic speed and effectiveness by a factor of 10.
MoUs have since been signed with Dubai-based research and consulting firm Medativ, cyber industrial engineering company Honeywell, and research lab and design studio Vinaya to proceed with the development of 3D printed medical applications, home health care solutions, and wearable technology to monitor health and wellness.
Expo 2020 Dubai has pioneered the Worker Wellness Program to measure workers’ health and well-being using the latest wearable wellness technology.
The first phase of the program ran for 30 months from October 2017, using Whoop wearable wrist-strap wellness devices for round-the-clock measuring of 5,540 construction workers’ effort, sleep and recovery on the Expo 2020 site. More than 13 terabytes of data have been collected designed to set new benchmarks for major construction projects and mega-events in the region and beyond.
Also, medical experts from Expo 2020’s on-site Emergency Centre carried out 1,467 preventative screenings for workers’ potential underlying conditions.
A second phase will begin 2021, using wellness wearable technology to monitor the health and well-being of workers during the six months of Expo 2020, from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
2020 wearable ideas
IoMT refers to medical devices and applications that are connected to healthcare IT allowing machine-to-machine (M2M) communication over the internet, and data link to a cloud platform.
In 2020 wearable technology will use IoMT to transform simple consumer devices to more advanced systems of healthcare applications.
Consumers will have the ability to take care of their own health using wearable devices like Fitbits, smartwatches, and wearable monitors.
Google’s decision to buy Fitbit was arguably the biggest wearable tech news story of 2019.
- Fitness Trackers
Fitness trackers provide health recommendations through syncing to various smartphone apps. One of the most famous wearable trackers is Fitbit Flex which aims at measuring the human’s exercise, diet, and sleep.
In 2018 smartwatches accounted for approximately 60% of the overall wearable market. Smartwatches allow healthcare providers to collect and analyze wide swaths of patient data and make the correct decisions.
Wearables have the ability to measure electrocardiograms (ECGs), detect atrial fibrillation and send readings to the patient’s doctor.
4-Blood Pressure Monitors
A BPM (Blood Pressure Monitor) provides full monitoring of blood pressure and alarm high blood pressure patients to exert less effort and provide their doctors crucial data.
Biosensors are wearable medical devices using a self-adhesive patch allowing patients to move around while collecting data on their movement, heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature.
6- Sleep aids
The likes of Fitbit, Garmin and Withings are seeking to offer richer data about our sleep. It’s no longer just about how your quality of sleep, but it’s become more about what can be discovered from your sleep.
7- Brain waves
Muse, a brain sensing headband will become your personal meditation assistant by providing EEG based real-time neuro feedback, to teach you recognize a calm mind and help you get there. While you meditate, Muse measures whether your mind is calm or active, and translates that data into soothing weather sounds.
Wearables will also begin to tap more into our brain to influence behaviors and athletic abilities and flexibility.
.8- Air quality sensors
Wearables have begun to offer solutions as to how we can monitor pollution levels and have a better idea of the areas that are most harmful. French startup IEVA could pave the way for the big names in the space to offer the sensor tech to make its watches better at monitoring air quality.