Smart devices, growth trackers and wearables – CES 2019 round-up

CES 2019 has had a broad range of new technology and gadgets showcased at this year’s event in Las Vegas. The health sector has been no exception as new devices and solutions have been on show that could improve people’s quality of life.

Here are a few things that featured:

Home health monitoring from Walabot:

Vayyar Imaging created the Walabot HOME– a bathroom fall detection device. Now it is expanding to a home health monitoring solution to help seniors who want to maintain privacy and dignity in their own home.

Using sensors, which Vayyar say doesn’t collect any optic data, Walabot HOME can be placed in any area of the house, monitoring the health occupant and detecting any falls. It connects the user with caregivers or family through an app which offers mobile alerts and two-way calling.

Ofer Familier, director of business development at Vayyar Imaging, said: “The future of Walabot HOME goes far beyond one device offering one service; it is a holistic solution that can be implemented throughout the entire home. Since launching Walabot HOME, we’ve seen how emergency fall detection can save lives, and we feel a sense of urgency to broaden this protection with additional health monitoring capabilities in every room in the home.”

Tracking smart ovulation and smart growth:

Digital software and device company Bongmi were keen to highlight two devices at the show. Ivy, the smart ovulation tracker; and Bonbaby, the smart growth tracker.

Ivy is aimed to help women understand their menstrual cycle. It is a device which measures hormones in urine to determine the time of optimum fertility in a woman’s menstrual cycle. It collects data from the analysis which is saved to the accompanying app to present a historic and graphical record. Contained within the device is an LED light and a removable test strip. The test period starts from five to twelve days into the menstrual cycle, during which time the test strip is placed in urine (either for three seconds in direct flow or fifteen seconds if captured in a container) to measure oestrogen levels and LH concentration. The test paper is analysed using photoelectric recognition and the results uploaded to the cell phone using Bluetooth. After five minutes, the LED shows “Low Fertility”, “High Fertility” or “Peak Fertility”.

Bonbaby aims to help understand and manage the nutrition of growing children. It comprises scales with a tape ruler connected to a hand-held measurement device. The child stands on the scales and the measurement device is placed on top of the head, recording the child’s height and weight in one easy movement. An LED on the device displays the child’s height and synchronises with the mobile app to record and chart the information which is compared to the Child Growth Standards to indicate if weight and height are appropriate for the child’s age and gender. The app then provides tailored recommendations.

Recognition for smart home tech

Smart home company Centrica Hive was named a CES 2019 Innovation Awards Honouree for Hive Link in the Tech for a Better World category. The home service product is designed to allow caregivers to check in on a person in question during the day in order to provide a sense of reassurance. If the person deviates from a usual routine, the career can receive notifications alerting them to this.

Claire Miles, managing director of Centrica Hive, said: “Empowering caregivers is a real passion for us at Centrica Hive and we firmly believe smart home technology will provide extra reassurance for families and their loved ones. Our research with Carers UK clearly shows elderly people want to live in their home and remain independent, but have someone on hand to help if needed. Hive Link was created with this insight at its heart. Designed to be invisible within the home, but always there to give invaluable peace of mind and let everyone enjoy their lives.”

Hearing aids ‘like Spotify’

Oticon has developed a way of trying to make hearing aids more personalised for its users. Oticon Kaizn communicates with users to determine their intentions in different sound environments by trying to understand typical listening environments where users live, work and socialise.

Michael Porsbo, Oticon project manager, drew a similarity with how Spotify selects music for its users.

He said: “We appreciate that every hearing aid user is different and that their needs and preferences are changeable. Only the user knows whether they want to hear the conversation at their table, or relax to the music playing in the background, which is why with Kaizn, we take a leap forward in human-driven hearing healthcare by using AI to optimise a more personal sound experience.

“An Oticon hearing aid connected to Kaizn will persist in getting better and better over time, enabling continuous user optimisations to positively affect hearing health and ultimately overall well-being. Just as Spotify recommends new songs based on a user’s past selections, thanks to artificial intelligence, Kaizn keeps getting to know a hearing aid user and their preferences as it learns from the data it collects. It is our dream that Oticon Kaizn, as an ever expanding, ever improving solution and system, will provide continuous added value to hundreds of thousands of Oticon hearing aid users worldwide.”

Wearable rehabilitation for stroke survivors

Flint Rehab have launched MiGo, a neuro-rehab wearable activity tracker specifically for stroke survivors. The device is accompanied with a smartphone app providing support through digital coaching, goal setting and social networking with other stroke survivors. The product encourages the patient to use the impaired side of the body as a result of the stroke as much as possible.

Dan Zondervan, co-founder and vice president of Flint Rehab, said: “Suffering a stroke is a traumatic, life-changing event. Many survivors do not have the proper support network to deal with the event, and they may find it difficult to relate with friends and family who don’t understand what they are going through.

“That’s why we went the extra step with MiGo and created the first ever online activity-tracking community made just for stroke survivors. Using the MiGo app, users can join groups to share their activity data and collaborate with other stroke survivors to achieve group goals. Group members can also share their experiences and offer encouraging support to each other — right in the app. Recovering from a stroke is a difficult challenge. With MiGo, survivors don’t have to go through that challenge alone.”

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