Published On: Thu, Oct 3rd, 2019

Smart Bodies

Smartwatches and fitness trackers were once the biggest health-related technology to hit the market, allowing users to monitor their exercise, heart rate, sleep patterns, and more. But now, organizations are peering into a new future, where tech can not only be worn as an accessory but also be implanted in the body to track medical conditions, treat illnesses and diseases, and much more. Yes, smart bodies have arrived.

As these technologies become increasingly sophisticated, healthcare, fitnesses, and related businesses and organizations are looking to IT outsource services to help them develop their next great innovations.

photo/ skeeze via pixabay

Here are just some of the latest and greatest inventions based on smart bodies technology.

Medical implants

In collaboration with scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MIT researchers have created devices that can be implanted in the body. Radiofrequency waves that are safe for human exposure pass through tissues and may facilitate the delivery of drugs and treatments, as well as monitor health conditions within the body.

Medical professionals can communicate with devices from outside the body. These gadgets operate without a battery, unlike pacemakers, and can be incredibly tiny — the prototype tested is roughly the size of a grain of rice, but it has the potential to be even smaller still. 

Given the huge potential for diagnosing and treating diseases via the new technology, we’ll likely see businesses clamoring to partner with software outsourcing companies and medical practitioners to develop their own models. 

Contact lenses

Finally, smart contact lenses could have the power to treat diseases and conditions involving and related to visual impairment, from cataracts to macular degeneration to glaucoma. In one example, the University of Wisconsin developed a lens using light sensors and other features to treat farsightedness, helping the wearer autofocus on what she or he is observing. 

Companies and organizations such as Google, Sony, and even the United States Department of Defense are working on lenses that, among other capabilities, could help soldiers see in the dark, measure glucose levels in diabetes patients, and track the progression of glaucoma. Organizations in the eyecare industry have plenty of opportunities to work with IT outsource services or in-house professionals to create their own versions of smart contact lenses.

Body Area Network

Body Area Network (BAN) technology, likewise, can be implanted in the body or worn to monitor health, fitness, and safety, as well as assist in sports training. This wireless network is used to transmit information fro the device to another location, such as a computer.

A BAN (body area network) or a WBAN (wireless body area network) is a wireless n/w of the wearable computing device. These devices may be placed in the human body or surface mounted on the human body in a particular position.

According to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), more development and research is needed to optimize BAN technology for widespread and extended use. For instance, ETSI notes that as technology stands, it can only monitor people’s activities for one or two hours, as opposed to full-time. It also calls for greater security and improved quality of service. Therefore, if organizations intend to leverage BAN technology for increased usage, they will need to employ software outsourcing models or work with on-staff IT professionals to address these and other concerns. 

Bionic technology

Meanwhile, bionic technology is also making waves in the medical sphere. Hugh Herr, head of the Biomechatronics group at the MIT Media Lab, is responsible for developing bionic limbs that offer improved mobility to people with physical disabilities. They include the BiOM Ankle System, which allows people with leg amputations to walk with normal speed and maintain metabolic levels. 

Open Bionics developed the Hero Arm, the first clinically approved 3D-printed bionic arm. The arm has multi-grip functionality to enable wearers to grab objects, high-five, and more. There are still plenty of opportunities for organizations to work with IT outsource services and research labs to develop advanced technology to assist people with amputations, spinal cord injuries, stroke, and more.

Smart clothing

The possibilities for wearable technology are ever-evolving. While not incorporated into the body, these smart shoes, apparel, and accessories are still considered part of the smart body trend. They connect to the body and deliver data for a range of purposes, particularly in the healthcare and sports sectors. And more and more businesses are choosing to outsource development to tap into smart clothing’s capabilities. 

At the University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan, researchers developed a sensor that can be woven into textiles to monitor the movements of the wearer. It can be used — or worn — to monitor heart rate and temperature. The researchers believe there will be numerous applications in the future, including for athletic clothing. 

Smart bodies are the next wave, with many industries, especially the healthcare and fitness sectors, developing new innovations through software outsourcing models and research partners. These technologies can help monitor, track, and even treat a variety of illnesses, diseases, and conditions and have the capacity to change the way we interact with technology well into the future.

Author: Santiago Alonso

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