Immersive Technologies and Personal HealthcareAre you what you wear ?Sensor technologies and mobile apps destined to influence our health and well-beingYesterday I took delivery of a device that I hope will change my life for the better. A few days before,I had woken early and, as is my custom when I can’t sleep, I turned to the iPad lying on top of theduvet beside me and randomly surfed the BBC news channel. I came across a device called theJawbone UP that seems to herald a revolution which I have long thought would happen. In the ageof the “Internet of Things”, wireless sensor devices embedded into our daily lives and linked toapplications which can analyse and visualise large amounts of collected data will, I am certain,become a part of the everyday lives of the majority of people.The Jawbone UP, combined with other applications that run on portable and mobile devices, areable to collect, analyse and display our daily activities in ways which could have a major impact onthe health and wellbeing of the nation.23andme DNA Analysis
Almost 2 months ago now, triggered by a chance conversation in Covent Garden with an Australianfriend visiting on business, I was persuaded to register with a website which offers DNA analysis for areasonable price. 23andme.com organises the collection and analysis of a sample of your sputumand the provides secure web access to a very wide range of personal information about your geneticorigins and health parameters. My reason for trying the service originally was based on my friend’sobservation that I looked like a Russian so I was curious whether my DNA might confirm someancient traces of Cossack genetics. Now that I have the results, I am both impressed and astoundedat the volume of data and analysis. I find that I have a higher than average risk of type 2 diabeteswhich coupled with the fact that I am well-built (euphemism for technical obesity), the Jawbone UPoffers me an opportunity to make changes to my eating and exercise patterns in ways I cangenuinely monitor.Healthy Eating on Offer from Diabetes UK and my first day’s activitiesOnce I had connected by UP bracelet to my iPad and personalised my settings with the UPapplication, I also installed a sister application called “MarkMyFitness” which uses GPS tracking oneither an iPhone or iPad to track your “workouts” and I now find myself carrying my iPadeverywhere and starting a workout every time I walk anywhere. The application tracks my route andmy speed and, based on my age, weight and height, works out how many calories I have used.At night, I press a button on the UP bracelet and it tracks my sleep patterns, with a facility to wakeme up with a gentle vibration if I want. It analyses sleep into deep sleep and light sleep and showsthis on a graph once you sync it with your iPadThis morning, I was excited to see how I fared on my first day and proud to find I had exceeded mytarget activity of 10,000 steps with a total of almost 12,000 steps or the equivalent of walking about6 miles. I also logged everything I ate to track calorie consumption and rather spoilt my first day’sefforts with glasses of red wine.
My recommended diet and one of my “Workouts”When I wrote my first book “Gadgets to God” (www.gadgetstogodbook.com), I predicted that acombination of technologies which include the cloud, sensors, wireless networks, social media,virtual worlds, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and serious games would lead to a massivedemand for personalised solutions designed to empower citizens to shape and control their future.Now this is a reality and I feel blessed that my generation is lucky enough to have lived through sucha wonderful, exciting and disruptive period in the history of mankind.