Wearable technologies have been one of the exciting developments to expand possibilities in our daily life for everyone including persons with disabilities. You may be familiar with a wearable device like smartwatches that can provide real-time access to information online and advanced features to make your daily activities easier. In addition some wearable devices are used to monitor your health such as measuring your blood pressure or heart rate. For example, smart wristband (i.e. Jawbone UP3) has a heart rate tracking system built into the device. Other types of wearable devices can be used to monitor your family or loved one. Interests in wearable technologies are even growing among young developers. For example, Kenneth Sinozuka, one of the Google Science finalists, developed a wearable sensor to monitor his grandfather, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. The wearable sensor devices which is installed to his grandfather’s shoes and triggers whenever his grandfather steps out his bed. As a result, his family members were able to monitor and prevent his grandfather from wandering away.
Kenneth Shinozuka – Wearable Sensors for Aging Society
So what is next? Many scientist and engineers have been developing the next generation of wearable devices and sensor systems (i.e. Bio-sensing) for clinical research and health monitoring. Wearable devices, installed with variable resistance bend sensors, enable applications for human posture recognition and motion capture by recovering human joint bend angles. Some wearable sensor systems provide real-time feedback including chemical information such as monitoring potassium or lactic acid levels through their sweat or saliva. For example, without using a needle, a sensor system can gauge someone’s blood glucose level that would help for persons who suffer from diabetes. The next generation of these E-skin sensor systems (i.e. glucose-measuring tattoo) are not ready yet to market, but many scientists are working on these technologies worldwide.
More information about Wearable Medical devices and sensor systems:
The benefits of both wearable devices and sensor systems are providing significant assistance for daily living, monitoring of persons with disabilities, seniors, infants, or patients, and allowing the early detection of potential life-threatening events. However, some people who would benefit from wearing a medical device or sensors may not willingly wear them. A few of other challenges are how to control the user’s privacy and security while wearing it.