Tag Archives: Health

Playbrush Brings Fun to Toothbrushing at Gadget Show Live



Playbrush LogoGood oral hygiene is important for everyone but getting children to brush their teeth can be a bedtime battle. Playbrush should help win the war, bringing fun into the bathroom. I get the toothpaste out with John to find out more about Playbrush and continue coverage of the British Inventors’ Project.

The Playbrush is small bulbous gadget that slips over the handle of a manual toothbrush and turns the toothbrush into a game controller. Communicating via Bluetooth, the toothbrusher plays a game “Utoothia” on their tablet or smartphone, encouraging correct brushing technique and duration. The Playbrush can be shared among a family with game apps supporting up to six people. It’s rechargeable and will last around four-to-six weeks on single charge, depending on use. The games are in both the Apple and Google app stores.

Playbrush with app

Originally a Kickstarter Project, the Playbrush launched back in November and is available now from the Playbrush store for GB£31 (says the store). There’s a bathroom kit for an extra £8 which is a vinyl pocket to hold the smartphone during brushing and keep it toothpaste free. It sticks to tiles or a mirror using suction cups.

I think this is neatly executed idea that’s very affordable, especially as it can be shared with more than one child, though I think Playbrush need a neutral colour that’s not blue or pink!


Mio Heart Rate and Activity Trackers at WTS



Mio Logo Mio‘s range of heart rate and activity trackers compares well with the big names in the fitness space, but it’s perhaps not the best known brand, though it does have history behind it. At the Wearable Technology Show, Andrew chats with Michael about Mio’s products and the background to the company.

Specialising in heart rate tracking during activity, all the models in Mio’s range have optical sensors built into the wrist bands to measure the wearers pulse. Typically, the trackers are accurate to one beat per minute when compared with a medical grade EKG. There are four models, Link, Velo, Fuse and Alpha, with the Velo aimed at cyclists.

Communicating with smartphones is done via Bluetooth (what else?) and the Mio’s are compatible with a range of appsANT+ devices and bike computers (not Alpha). In addition to the heart rate, the trackers will give the usual fitness metrics like calories and steps.

All the trackers are available now, with prices from GB£75 to £120. A new model, the Slice, is expected out later in the year.

Mio Alpha


Cupris Smartphone Scopes at Wearable Tech Show



Cupris LogoThe smartphones in our pockets have cameras that could only have been dreamed of a few years ago, yet most only take a couple of selfies. So why not use these miracles of engineering to do more? Cupris‘ phone case converts the smartphone into a digital medical instrument. Helene tells Andrew more about their upcoming products.

The Cupris smartphone case mounts specialist medical lenses in front of the smartphone camera to take images and videos. The first device is an otoscope (right) for examining the eardrum and the second is an ophthalmoscope (left) for retinal imaging. The big benefit of digital imaging over the traditional scopes is that the pictures can be added to the patient record for review at a later date.

The otoscope will be available soon for less than GB£100.

Cupris Medical Imaging


ClearSky Helps Parkinson’s Sufferers at Wearable Tech Show



ClearSky MDParkinson’s is a terrible condition and while some drugs can ameliorate its effects, it can be tricky get the dosage regime right. Too much and the side effects include involuntary movements called dyskinesia. Andrew interviews Dr Stephen Smith from ClearSky and University of York about their wearable technology and software algorithms that can identify when a patient is receiving too high a dose.

The ClearSky LID-Monitor uses six trackers that are attached to the sufferer for a day, measuring and recording the wearer’s limb movements over the period. At the end of the day, the data from the six trackers is uploaded to a PC and analysed, showing the clinician the parts of the day when the patient suffers from dyskinesia. On the screen below, these periods are shown in green, giving the clinician guidance on suitable changes to medication.

The development of the LID-Monitor was part funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

ClearSky LID


Acticheck Personal Alert at Wearable Tech Show



ActicheckMany people in the UK will have seen advertisements in the past for emergency call necklaces and bracelets aimed at older people who live alone, providing them with reassurance that they can call for help in the event of a fall or other emergency. Typically these products are an older technology, relatively expensive and aesthetically uninspiring. Acticheck aims to bring the idea up-to-date with an inexpensive wearable solution using consumer technology. Andrew interviews Bill to find out more.

Acticheck Assure combines a ruggedised waterproof bracelet with a monitoring hub which connects back to a cloud portal using an broadband Internet connection. In the event of a fall or other emergency, the wrist alert communicates with the hub to send messages to relatives and friends asking for help. The portal can be accessed through desktop computer, tablet or smartphone to manage settings and view personal information.

Acticheck is available now for GB£239 which includes the hub, wrist band and a year of service. The wrist band does need replaced every year or so when the internal battery runs out at a cost of £89.

Acticheck

 


Emfit QS Sleep Monitor at Wearable Tech Show



Emfit LogoIn the first of our interviews from the 2016 Wearable Technology Show, Andrew interviews Timo from Emfit to hear about the Emfit QS, which monitors sleep and gives detailed information on sleep quality and stress levels.

The Emfit QS is a thin strip which is placed under the sleeper’s mattress and then communicates with a web portal via wifi (app coming soon). Aimed at athletes and fitness enthusiasts, the Emfit QS Collects data throughout the night, including heart rate, respiration and activity. The portal provides a dashboard for reviewing and analysing the data, looking for sleep-affecting patterns. Improvements in health and fitness can be tracked over the long term.

Emfit

Available now, the Emfit QS costs €299.


Gyenno Spoon Returns Dignity to Tremor Sufferers



Gyenno SpoonHand tremors can be a very disabling condition for sufferers as the tremors affect the ability to feed oneself and simply, food won’t stay on the fork or spoon. For the afflicted, this either ends up in unremitting frustration or a considerable reliance on others. Fortunately, products are coming to the market which dampen and stabilise the cutlery (flatware) allowing those suffering from hand tremors to feed themselves with dignity. Jamie and Nick find out more about the new utensils from Kang Ren of Gyenno.

The Gyenno spoon is designed to work with a wide range of tremor conditions and the spoon uses built-in sensors and machine learning to control two independent motor systems for spoon stabilisation. In addition to keeping the spoon still, the sensors record data which can be passed to healthcare professionals to monitor the on-going condition.

The spoon is available from Amazon and is currently priced at US$312.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic and health journalist. Nick DiMeo is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Sleep Better with Sleepace at CES



Sleepace LogoSleep is great. Not only does it refresh you for the coming day, your behaviour while asleep can provide indicators to health issues such as sleep apnea. Howard Borenstein, President of Sleepace takes Jamie through snooze system.

Sleepace compromises three components. First is the Reston, a flat band which goes under the mattress and records night-time behaviour. Second a complementary smartphone app which downloads the data via Bluetooth from the Reston and show stats about your shut-eye. The app helps you understand and improve your sleep, highlighting issues such as sleep apnea or heart rate problems. Finally the Nox light helps you get to sleep by producing red light and later gently wakes you from slumber.

This is the only non-wearable sleep tracking system I’ve seen, so if you don’t like wearing anything in bed (!), check it out. The Reston band is available now and the full Sleepace system including the Nox will be available in March or US$279.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic and health journalist.

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Variowell Offers a Smart Mattress at CES



Variowell logoGetting a good night’s sleep is one of the more important things in life, and a good mattress goes a long way in getting that snooze. Variowell have a revolutionary foam for making a comfortable mattress that can dynamically change its firmness. Todd and Daniel find out more from Philipp Kirchoff.

Many of us will have encountered memory foam which softens to body temperature. Variowell have developed a dynamic foam where relatively small changes in temperature can make significant changes in density. By controlling the temperature from below the mattress, Variowell can change the firmness of the mattress during the night in response to the sleeper. As sleep gets deeper, the mattress can be softer, and then get firmer in the hour before the alarm goes off.

The relative density of the mattress can be controlled by the complementary smartphone app which communicates with the mattress via Bluetooth. The responsiveness to sleep phases is enhanced by connecting to wearable sleep trackers such as Fitbit, which can more accurately measure the sleeper’s state.

The first smart mattresses are expected to come onto the market in May with prices from US$1700 depending on size.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.
Daniel J. Lewis is the host of the award-winning podcast about podcasting, The Audacity to Podcast. Daniel helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and finding success.

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Spün’s Smart Spoon Counts Calories at CES



SpunIt seems like everyone’s counting calories these days but much of the time it’s not convenient or accurate. My calorie book says that banana has 102 calories but what size banana is that? Anyway, to help with this first world problem is Spün Utensils – that’s Spün as in “spoon” – and Scott finds out more from founder, Umar Bakhsh.

Spün uses a combination of technologies to count those calories. First, you take a picture of your plate loaded with food with the Spün app. The app identifies the individual portions of food – ham, eggs, potatoes – and gets you to confirm that it’s got it right. You then use the Spün smart utensil and as you eat from the plate, it works out the calories consumed. After so many mouthfuls, the app will let you know how many calories you’ve chomped, along with a breakdown of the food types.

The utensil itself is stylishly designed with interchangeable heads – there’s a fork and two sizes of spoon. No knife as everyone knows you don’t eat from knives!

Expected price is US$75 with general availability in June 2016. Pre-orders are being taken on the web site here, though at the moment it looks like it’s only registering interest.

Scott Ertz is a software developer and video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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