Long gone are the days when it seemed we only looked at our phones or watches to call or text a friend, listen to music or check the time. These days, the supposedly modest devices which many of us routinely carry in our pockets or on our wrists are packed with super-smart, in-depth technology.
Much of the technology housed within consumer devices has broad, positive implications for our health and wellbeing – and that’s before we consider what’s being developed behind closed doors. Here are some clever ways that tech is boding well for the conditions of millions of people.
Robotic sensor technology for diagnosing reproductive issues
Severe reproductive problems like infertility and early menopause beset a third of women in England, notes the Imperial College of London’s website. However, with current blood tests, doctors often struggle to measure LH pulse patterns which can help shed light on reproductive disorders.
Fortunately, researchers at Imperial College London and The University of Hong Kong have developed robotic sensor technology capable of diagnosing reproductive issues in real-time. The research team now aims to fit the technology into a sensor similar in size to a glucose monitoring device.
On-wrist fitness tracking
Is the smartwatch really the new smartphone? It’s probably too early to judge, but there’s no doubt that the increasing popularity of smartwatches seems to herald a more and more healthy future for many of us, due to the fitness tracking features with which many smartwatches are equipped.
That’s before we even consider the proliferation of stripped-down fitness trackers omitting much of the smartphone-like functionality, such as messaging and listening to music. If you’re undecided about which wearable to add to your shopping list, Mashable has a rundown of various devices.
The Apple Watch Series 4’s built-in ECG
Last September, Apple unveiled a new Apple Watch that brought perhaps the most impressive refinements to the product line in its several-year-old history. The increased display sizes were certainly eye-catching, but the real star feature was arguably the electrocardiogram (ECG) lying under the hood.
While this ECG remains less advanced than ECG machines used in hospitals to check up on heart health, it can still “provide basic information and warnings of potential anomalies worthy of a closer look by a medical professional”, says TIME, which offers an in-depth look at further implications.
A proactive corporate wellbeing programme
If you run an ambitious business, you have probably already implemented a corporate wellness programme as a way of monitoring how your staff are faring on various wellbeing measures. However, whether that programme is really being used to the best effect can remain unclear.
The World Health Organisation reports 20% of employees suffering with their mental health, while Gallup claims that 53% run into financial stress.
However, with traditional Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) being utilised by under 5% of eligible employees, there is obviously a place for the more proactive approach to employee wellness showcased by LifeWorks with its EAP offering. This EAP’s support for consumer-grade, mobile technology is also promising.