Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) held a meeting this year to establish projections for the arrival of various technologies, including wireless health devices. Here’s what the group predicted:
In five years, a variety of wearable devices should interface wirelessly with assistive robots.
In 10 years, smaller-scale and lighter-weight wireless wearable sensors providing a range of physiologic data should be available to detect and classify, as well as to some degree, predict user physiologic state such as heart rate or blood oxygen or glucose level.
In 15 years, off-the-shelf wireless physiologic sensing devices should be interoperable with computer- and robot-based coaching systems to facilitate bio-feedback and other forms of feedback to the user for facilitating sophisticated human-robot, and more generally, human-machine interaction.
These predictions certainly hinge on the wording — “should be available” and “off-the-shelf” — indicate market-readiness more so than mere existence. Some of these technologies are working as prototypes or in clinical trials today: Corventis’ wireless peel and stick sensor for remote cardiac monitoring, for example, is beginning a trial under the guise of the West Wireless Health Institute. Of course, these tools becoming “available” to the general public whether through prescription or “off the shelf” will take much longer.
“One of the most important factors driving the research and application of sensors and wearable devices is the worldwide aging population, which will rise dramatically in the next two decades,” said Henrik Christensen, IEEE senior member. “There will be a huge demand for technologies that will help enhance this population’s quality of life, in ways like allowing them to remain in their homes while still getting the care and monitoring they need.”
For more on the CCC predictions, read this RD Magazine article