Today’s smart medical devices, such as glucometers that keep a record of blood sugar readings, typically require a smartphone as a gateway to link them to the internet. This poses some drawbacks, as patients are required to maintain a paired smartphone nearby and to make sure the data is uploaded regularly to a healthcare provider’s portal. Moreover, while diabetic patients should pay attention to their glucose levels, some patient data is better meant to be analyzed by trained professionals and so it would be best if patients don’t even have to think about the sensors they’re wearing and how they connect to the rest of the internet.
The latest technological solution to these kinds of problems are the new LTE-M networks that allow Internet of Things devices to connect directly to them rather than through a device like a smartphone. AT&T Foundry, a product development arm of AT&T that works with other businesses to solve their connectivity needs, has been partnering with Hanger, maker of prosthetic devices, to integrate sensors into their products. The idea is that rehab specialists will be able to monitor their patients and to notice any patterns that may lead to injury, poor acceptance of the new prostheses, or inefficient usage of the devices.
The cooperation has built a prototype sensor that snaps to a prosthetic leg and which can report readings from an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer within its insides. The measurements provide a pretty good set of parameters that can already probably be used by rehabilitation specialists, but the technology is still in the development stage.
Here’s an AT&T video about the project: