Biorhythm-based consumer electronics to become mainstream

February 20, 2013 - 

The next generation of consumer electronics will focus on measuring biorhythms.

Biorhythms are defined simply as the rhythms of life, and include vital body functions, including heart rate and blood pressure. Medical chronobiologists have found that biologic rhythms can affect the severity of disease symptoms, diagnostic test results, and even the body’s response to drug therapy.

Now these investigators are working to measure how the rhythms of life can be monitored through microtechnology to improve the practice of medicine and health. The result is the emergence of wearable and even ingestible sensors developed by firms such as Proteus Digital and BodyMedia.

Biometrics Research Group, Inc. estimates that wearable health and fitness sensors will exceed 40 million shipments by 2015. Currently, the research firm projects that well-known sportswear firms such as Adidas and Nike will drive early adoption, that companies such as Proteus Digital and BodyMedia will drive cutting edge technological developments, and that the devices will be mainstream by the end of the decade.

Nike is well-known for its Nike+iPod sports kit, which measures and records the distance and pace of a walk or run through embedded shoe sensors that connect to an iPod. Adidas has a similar system entitled miCoach, which tracks running space, distance, time and calories through GPS-enabled mobile phone devices.

As reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, a wide range of other biometric fitness and healthcare applications have entered the market, including wireless and wearable activity and sleep trackers and even smartphone-enabled cardiograms.

The next stage in the technical revolution will be biochemical sensors that monitor and record biorhythms from within the body. Proteus Digital has developed wearable and ingestible sensors that work together to detect ingestions and physiologic data.

By capturing objective information and providing actionable insights, patients using the technology can take control, communicate with caregivers and clinicians, and improve their health. The company has developed an ingestible sensor, which is completely made of ingredients found in food, and that is activated when swallowed.

The sensor is taken alongside medications, and is powered by the body’s biochemistry. The body therefore actually powers the sensor. With no battery or antenna, stomach fluids completely power the device and organically transmits the data generated by sensor.

A patch, body-worn and disposable, captures and relays the body’s physiologic responses and behaviors. The patch receives the data from the ingestible sensor, detects heart rate, activity and rest and forwards that information to a Bluetooth enabled mobile device. The device, which can be carried in a purse or pocket, provides secure access to metrics that can be used by consumers, caregivers, clinicians, caseworkers, drug and device makers and health management systems.

The company caters to consumers to help them better manage their health and improve how they communicate with their care network. Family caregivers can use the technology to stay connected and monitor the health of their loved ones. A great beneficiary of the technology are clinicians who can make better decisions about their patients through more accurate monitoring between doctor visits. In terms of corporate and organizational users, caseworkers in the social welfare, corrections and healthcare sector can leverage Proteus Digital‘s “digital health feedback system”. Caseworkers can manage multiple clients at once, monitoring mandated or illicit drug use. Health systems can use the technology to understand demographic patterns and determine how to improve overall health care. Drugs and device makers are also able to utilize Proteus Digital‘s technology to improve health outcomes by measuring pharmaceutical and device effectiveness.

In terms of new wearable technologies, body monitoring pioneer BodyMedia recently unveiled the next generation of its BodyMedia CORE device, the activity and health armband used on the Biggest Loser television show.

Incorporating four sensors into a housing smaller than an iPod Nano, the CORE 2 is the world’s smallest wearable multi-sensor device, as well as the first to offer a choice of interchangeable jewelry and other accessories, including faceplates, straps and even cufflinks.

The device will also feature a new heart rate monitoring option; Bluetooth technology enabling live activity updates on a smartphone or tablet, as well as longer battery life; and data-rich mobile and online apps that can help users make smart food, exercise and lifestyle-related health decisions daily.

With a literal explosion of new biorhythm monitoring technologies, Biometric Research Group, Inc. expects the biorhythm monitoring market to reach $100 million in sales by 2015, thereby enhancing the bottom line for consumer electronics retailers.

Biometrics Research Group provides forward-looking and systematic data about the global biometric market, allowing industry stakeholders to calculate political, economic and investment risk.

Read more Biometric Research Notes.

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About Rawlson King

Rawlson O’Neil King is a contributing editor at BiometricUpdate.com and is an experienced communications professional, management consultant, trade journalist and author who recently published a book about control and electronic networks and who has written numerous articles in trade publications and academic journals about smart home and building technologies. Follow him @rawlsonking2.