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Wearable Diagnosis

Diagnosis of any illnesses, sudden injuries, or deterioration of conditions is something traditionally done in a doctor's clinic or in a hospital.

The definition of the term diagnosis, has two possible meanings:

  1. Recognition of a condition or disease by its outward signs and symptoms.
  2. Analysing the underlying physiological/biochemical cause of a disease or condition.

Whilst it is true that the latter can only be performed by dedicated personnel; the former definition, recognising a condition or disease by outward signs and symptoms is something that can be performed away from any dedicated health facilities. In fact, with the proliferation of technologies to imbed computer components in our clothes and bodies, it is perfectly feasible to slip into your daily health check when you don something from your wardrobe at the start of the day.

As the computer is becoming the hub of the home network, and as more and more homes connect wirelessly and with sensor webs, it is not such a great leap to envisage the day when on detecting a problem, your clothing or home medical unit literally broadcasts for help to the nearest medical facility.

Staying more grounded in the now, what kind of thing is actually available?

DETECT

DETECT or Display Enhanced TEsting for Concussion and mild Traumatic brain injury is a pair of HMD glasses with a handheld computing attachment. Created by biomedical engineer Michelle LaPlaca at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, DETECT is designed to diagnose head injuries without a doctor present.

If you have been hit on the head, you may be concussed. There have been two ways of checking for concussion: A second blow to the head will very likely kill a concussed person, and has been the fastest and least desirable way to check. The other method takes hours of testing by professionals.

DETECT is a wearable device - slip it on like any other pair of glasses - and it is able to detect signs of brain injury or dementia within minutes.

By measuring reactions times in a battery of tests, the system is designed to detect even mild cognitive deficits associated with concussion or early dementia. DETECT completes its tests in about 7 minutes.

Vital Health Monitoring

Arm bands like the SenseWear from BodyMedia are attached wia a cord to your skin, below a t-shirt, or under a more solid top, and continually collect and analyse your respiration flow, heart rate, and other key metrics.It even detects change in movement forwards/backwards and up/down.

The armband then transmits to your PC, or laptop where the other half of the armband waits, in the form of installed software. This continually anlyses the stream of data, and, in the event of a problem, reacts.

Let's say you are jogging along, and you suddenly feel pangs in your chest and collapse. The unit detects the downward movement, knows you have fallen, and is detecting changes in both skin temperature, and galvanic response(constriction of blood flow). The software is able to quickly put two and two together, and using the computer, start alerting whomever it can to your heart attack. This incluudes the ability to send messages to the hospital, and, if the software is configured, audibly scream for help via the speakers.

Diabetes Monitor Implant

If you suffer from diabetes, you prick your finger a lot, pressing a sensor into the blood to sample sugar levels, and ease your mind from worry. Wouldn't it be better if you could ease your mind without the pricking?

Enter Craig Grimes, an electrical engineer at Penn State University. Not yet rated for commercial use, but undergoing trials currently is a sensor, not so much wearable as it is embedded in your skin. Two milimetres wide, the bean sized sensor slips into your palm, or the back of your hand, and vibrates against an artery to determine the blood sugar content from the reverberations. An outside, wearable monitor communicates wirelessly with the sensor inside, transmitting data about the blood sugar levels without breaking the skin again.

References

DETECT
http://www.virtualworldlets.net/Archive/IndividualNews.php?News=1014

BodyMedia
http://www.bodymedia.com/products/bodymedia.jsp

SenseWear
http://www.bodymedia.com/products/bm_features.jsp

Diabnetes In Control: Implanted Glucose Sensor
http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/modules.php?name=
News&file=article&sid=2243

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