Wish your wearable device was more than just a glorified pedometer? Well, you’re in luck, because Stanford University researchers are granting wishes. They’re working on a way to use the data from your fitness tracker to predict when you’re going to get sick.
How Wearable Devices Can Detect Illness
The sensors installed in each wearable device gather information about your heart rate, body temperature, activity level, and other variables to establish a baseline — your own personal “normal.” Deviations from the norm, like an elevated heart rate, can indicate that you’re in the early stages of contracting a bug. The team at Stanford is working on an app that analyzes your tracker data and gives you an alert when such changes occur. Michael Snyder, professor of genetics and the project lead, came up with the idea when he used data from his own fitness tracker to catch a recent infection with Lyme disease.
The team expects to have an app on the market within a few years, and they hope it can do a lot more than just tell if you’re about to get the flu. They’re hoping it will provide life-saving health warnings to the elderly, as well as people with chronic health conditions like diabetes and epilepsy.
What to Expect From a Smart Device That Monitors Your Health
What else is on the horizon for health-related wearables? More data collection tools and options.
- Blood pressure monitoring.
- Glucose levels: Scanaflo offers a tool that measures glucose and other important information. While this is obviously useful for people managing diabetes, it can also help individuals attempting to stay in ketosis or free themselves from sugar cravings.
- Actual levels of exertion during exercise: The BodyMedia Fit scans body temperature and perspiration levels to show you how hard you’re working out.
- More Details on heart rate.
- Stress: The Vinaya device adds in mindfulness factors to track stress levels. (They’re also hoping to use that data to help women better assess their fertility when they’re trying to conceive.)
Wearable Device Health Impact
The best part of these innovations is our ability to generate a factual, comprehensive picture of each individual’s health. This information will assist you in making healthier choices and even give your doctor a data-driven overview of your health. An inclusive app that integrates with a variety of trackers and smartphones will undoubtedly make a big difference in global health.
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