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It’s Technical: Wearable Technology and Your Health

Posted 11 March 2014 2:30 PM by Shannon Smith

Turn off the TV and go outside and play!

Growing up, many of us heard parental promptings like this. Today, as electronic devices continue to multiply, so do accusations of the negative effects they’re having on our health. Research shows that the more we’re logged on, the less active, productive and serene we are. But wearable technology is changing that. More specifically, the data we send to our apps is transforming the way we think about our bodies.

Companies such as Salutron, for example, are producing wearable hardware that can monitor our personal wellbeing. Using this technology — aka “wearables” — you can do everything from measuring your caloric output and monitoring your heart rate to tracking your sleeping patterns and counting your steps. These devices must also maintain constant contact with the skin to accurately read and measure a person’s physiological outputs. The omni- (and on-body) presence of wearables requires they be as comfortable as they are functional.

On the flip side of this innovation lies an app that will “move and shake” the data collected. Azumio has been working on an app that seamlessly integrates with Salutron’s wearables. The result: Argus. A wearable monitoring ecosystem, Argus provides an intuitive and meaningful interface to help consumers create a healthier lifestyle. Consumers are tracking their diets by posting pictures of their meals and/or monitoring their cardiac system all within this new tool. This integrated app is transforming the way we know our bodies and, in turn, helping those who use it live a healthier life.

While aggregating this data for ourselves is useful, it may be even more beneficial for our care providers. As it stands now, these apps and their associated hardware do not need to be FDA approved unless they offer up diagnostic recommendations. Despite the lack of FDA clearance, physicians and wellness coaches are still opting to receive this data to get a more complete picture of their patients’ health.

And this is just what’s available now. As the technology evolves, many experts predict that these devices will eventually be able to save your life. We are already collecting data from all points of the world, but the question is what are we to do with it? From a development standpoint, any application programming interfaces (APIs) that can be created using this data would allow companies to develop effective apps to follow the “quantifiable self” data trend. Based on the SXSW session, “Fitness Wearables and the Quantifiable Self,” it remains unclear where the trend will ultimately head. Regardless, with the vast amount of data already collected, wearables and the related data collected already are and will continue to inform future trends.


Shannon Smith is a Developer at Moxie. This is her first experience attending SXSW. Her best celeb sighting in Austin? She got to party with Lady Gaga.

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