Telehealth in a Watch

Posted by Sam Churchill on

BodyMedia, a sensor company, is marrying body sensors to smartphones to create full-body monitors, reports the NY Times. BodyMedia’s armband sensors communicate with smartphones using Bluetooth.

Their Bluetooth-enabled armband costs $249 and the BodyMedia data service costs $7 a month, when purchased in an annual subscription.

In the past, BodyMedia users had to consult personal data downloaded to a Web site or observe a few measurements on special watchband display, sold for $100.

Now a person may monitor a collection of the 9,000 variables — physical activity, calories burned, body heat, sleep efficiency and others — collected by the sensors in a BodyMedia armband in real-time, as the day goes on. The company has been working with Apple and Google, to develop its smartphone application. The new offerings go on sale next month, at the company’s Web site, and at Amazon.

Based in Pittsburgh, BodyMedia got its start at CMU’s Mobile and Wearable Computing Lab

Potential new markets, analysts say, include diabetes management and corporate wellness programs, where a number of health service companies have sprung up, including RedBrick Health, Virgin HealthMiles and Tangerine Wellness.

Sony Ericcson’s LiveView can clip to a belt or wrist. It looks like an iPod nano but it’s actually an interface for reading and writing data to almost any Android phone. The Nike+ GPS App and Adidas MiCoach have similar capabilities. The Air Sports Watch has less capabilities but it’s only $20.

The Nike+ system used a piezoelectric accelerometer to monitor your footstrike to determine the amount of time your foot spent on the ground. The sensor sends this information wirelessly to the receiver via a proprietary low-power 2.4 GHz radio protocol, which is neither Bluetooth nor Wi-Fi, but has been engineered avoid interference.

Nike’s new iPhone app has eliminated the sensor and special shoes of its original Nike+ exercise system and added GPS support, using the handset’s GPS and accelerometer to monitor your progress.

As a result, iPhone and iPod touch users may now need only a $2 app versus a $30 kit, although iPod nano owners will still need the kit since they don’t have GPS.

Adidas earlier announced its MiCoach system as a free application for iPhone and BlackBerry users. The free Adidas app does not require any specific shoe, unlike the original Nike+, and works with any music player, not just the iPod.

The miCoach app syncs with, offering tailored programs and calendar, coaching and navigation options from the web and on your phone. It relies solely on GPS, you can’t use it on a treadmill the way you can with the original Nike+.

Mashable reviews 10 Essential iPhone running apps. Free or similarly priced alternatives include Jog Log which use GPS but do not connect to the Nikeplus online community.

Because of crowding of the radio spectrum, the FCC as well as similar agencies elsewhere have recently begun to allocate dedicated frequency bands for exclusive biotelemetry usage, in the Wireless Medical Telemetry Service (WMTS). The frequencies currently allocated for WMTS are divided into three blocks: the 608-614 MHz frequency band (which corresponds to UHF TV channel 37 but is not used by any TV station because it is used for radio astronomy) and the 1395-1400 MHz and 1427-1432 MHz frequency bands.

Devices using these bands are typically proprietary. In addition to WMTS, many manufacturers have created devices that transmit data in the ISM bands such as 902-928 MHz, and, more typically, 2.4-2.5 GHz, often using IEEE 802.11 or Bluetooth radios.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, believes a whole wave of new Machine to Machine (M2M) applications will emerge for White Spaces. “This will be a big boost for M2M wireless networks,” Genachowski predicts. “We are hoping that companies will make routers for this ‘Super Wi-Fi’ and get to market fast.”

UCLA is one of seven collegiate programs that will begin this weekend wearing a new Adidas compression football jersey introduced today. Research and development workers at Adidas North America’s headquarters in North Portland, specializing in kinesiology and biomechanics contributed to the product, called “Techfit“. The jersey fits like a tight-fitting tube. Smart clothing may be next.

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation have announced the 67 Best SmartPhone Apps for wheelchair users. It’s the first of its kind and features nine different categories.

A few examples:

  • CitiRoller enables users to instantly locate accessible transportation, restaurants, cafes and restrooms in New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. Its social media function permits users to nominate, rank and comment on specific locations.
  • Proloquo2Go turns a SmartPhone into a sophisticated portable text-to-speech voice synthesizer for those who cannot speak.
  • A mouth stick stylus mimics the electrical discharge of fingers on a touchscreen, enabling those without use of their hands to easily scroll, select and delete on SmartPhones and iPads.
  • Quick ADA provides easy access to the Americans with Disabilities Act’s standards and regulations for doors, stairs, hallways, plumbing and parking accessibility.

Cyclocomputers can display the current speed, average speed, maximum speed, trip distance, trip time, total distance traveled, altitude, incline, heart rate, power output, temperature, pedaling cadence and GPS position.

VeloComputer, for Android phones, incorporates Wheel and Pedal sensors for $199. It accurately measures distance, cadence, spot speed and acceleration within 1 second and can map to Google Earth. Remote Magazine covers the telemetry beat.

New sensor-laden suits are taking moviemaking to new heights, reports Design News in a cover story.

The Xsens MVN suit contains 51 single-axis gyroscopes, 34 dual-axis accelerometers and 17 Blackfin digital signal processors from Analog Devices. XBus Master controllers synchronize and power the sensors, and do wireless data transmission.

C3D is a commonly used format in the biomechanics field, and has been added as an export format to MVN BIOMECH suit.

A Bio-Prosthetic Prototype is a concept design of a sensor feedback system in a prosthetic system while robotic surgical systems can be operated remotely via TCP/IP.

Related Dailywireless stories include Rental Bikes: Free with Location-based Apps?, Bike Sharing Gets an App , Cell Carpooling in France, Tracking Tour de France, Cyclists Monitor Air Pollution, Geocoding Content & Telemetry, HyperLocal: There’s an App for That, Google Mobile Bike Maps, Tour de France 2009, Tracking Tour de California, Flickr Bike, Geocoding Content & Telemetry, Marathon Woman, Tracking the Boston Marathon.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 at 10:51 am .

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