A toilet that monitors hydration levels, socks which tell you to stop being lazy and exercise, and contact lenses which monitor your eye sight -- all these will be accomplished by 2024, according to claims by health insurance provider Bupa.
Bupa says that mobile technology will catapult the healthcare industry into a world of smart sensors, monitoring and gamification. By 2014, Bupa predicts that clothes, appliances, mobile devices and furniture will all play a vital role in monitoring our health, while "gamification" of health could reward everyday positive choices and behavior -- aiding in disease prevention and dramatically reducing the onset of diseases such as diabetes.
By embedding everyday household items -- including the toilet, socks, shoes and shirts -- with sensors, our health can be tracked in a smart fashion, alerting us at the first sign of illness. Bupa gives several examples within its healthcare predictions, as noted below:
- Intelligent fibres in clothing will detect movement of the chest and pulse, monitoring breathing and heart rate and detecting irregularities;
- 'Tattoo' skin patches will monitor body temperature and hydration;
- Contact lenses featuring microscopic cameras will monitor changes in the back of the eye, spotting early signs of diabetes;
- Shoes will feature pressure sensors to detect when the wearer is sedentary, and alert them with updates on fitness goals;
- The toilet will analyse urine passed to assess health risk factors and alert us to possible symptoms of illness.
Bupa says that sensory technology will pave the way for more personalized healthcare, and will aid in the prevention of disease by catching problems early. Dr Paul Zollinger-Read, Chief Medical Officer of Bupa commented:
"This glimpse into the future has allowed us to imagine a time where sophisticated mobile technology and advancements in the connected home mean that people can become guardians of their own health.
With a revolutionary smart contact lens which detects glucose levels in diabetes sufferers’ tears already in planning stages by Google, and human trials of a miniature artificial pancreas set to begin in 2016, this smart future is closer than you might think."
In November last year, Bupa signed a partnership agreement with the United Nations agency the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to collaborate on a global 'm-Health' initiative called "Be Healthy, Be Mobile."
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