BodyMedia, a Pittsburgh company, is developing armband monitors and proprietary software that, the company claims, will be able to predict your health tomorrow. That’s right–not PowerBall but your health! From a Forbes article:
BodyMedia has sold 7,500 armband monitors, 2.9-ounce pods packed with six sensors absorbing physiological data 32 times a second. Wearers dump their data wirelessly to a PC, which sends them to BodyMedia’s computer servers to be analyzed by 1,300 algorithms that figure out what that body is doing.
So far BodyMedia has tracked 132 years of human activity, including 44,533 minutes of jogging and 6,250 minutes of Ping-Pong. Thanks to all those who kept activity journals while wearing an armband, the system has learned to distinguish jogging from biking, watching TV from doing office work and driving a car from riding in one.
Up to now, BodyMedia’s devices have been used mainly for out-of-the-lab health studies and to manage weight-loss programs. But, within a year, Teller expects them to have ten times their current store of data, enough, he says, to write programs that may predict when someone will suffer a cold, epileptic fit or heart attack. “If it’s true for just one case,” he says, “we’re on the cusp of a whole new wave of medical technology.”
At the very least, constant body feedback can prod the unhealthy into making better choices. Insurers could offer better rates to nonsmoking exercisers and use Teller’s monitors to keep them honest. “Let’s make health care a meritocracy,” says Teller. “Access to the best care goes to people who did what they could to avoid becoming ill.”
Truthfully, in case you did not notice, we are rather skeptical by all these sparkles. What kind of powerfully predictive data a single arm band can pick up is not at all clear to us. Can one really make a diagnosis–not even a prediction–based on the sweat amount and/or composition, galvanic skin response, temperature and 2-3 other parameters? But who knows? The future is developing rather quickly before our eyes.
More at BodyMedia…
Flashback: The HealthWear System for Weight Management.
(hat tip: FutureFeeder)