Last week, The Creators Project premiered the first installment of our five-part documentary series on wearable technology titled, Make It Wearable, in support of Intel's Make It Wearable challenge. Today, we bring you part two on the cutting-edge field with Human Health, an exploration into how wearables in the medical community are optimizing patient care, as well as making health and athletics both safer and smarter.
More than just communication, wearables have the ability to keep us more informed about our bodies and our health. In this second installment, we talked to doctors, professors, and even a former NFL player who are all using wearables to evolve and improve health and wellness.
Watch our documentary above, but continue reading to see three specific areas of health where experts are integrating wearables to improve how we understand our bodies.
Safer, Smarter Sports And Exercise
Wearables are improving athletics in many ways, including tools that measure exercise habits and can prevent injury, as well as devices that could make our favorite games safer. For example, Isaiah Kacyvenski, a former NFL player, and his company MC10 collaborated with Reebok to create a head-impact indicator for football players called the Reebok CHECKLIGHT that we detailed in Human Health. He spoke to us about how wearables could change sports, without changing the games themselves.
"I want to give you data where you never had data before in a way that allows for accountability," he explained. Kacyvenski has had seven diagnosed concussions in his career, though he expects the number is higher in actuality. With wearables like CHECKLIGHT, the former linebacker hopes to help his sport safer and smarter:
"With wearables, we are not tied to the usual design rules of high performance electronics, which are rigid, clunky boxes. When you start to open up those design rules for electronics, and other large brands around the world start to see what they can do with our electronics and our processes around those electronics, it becomes very very interesting.”
Improved Data Visualization, Better Doctor Recommendations
In the documentary, we talked with Dr. Robin Berzin, a functional medicine physician practicing in NYC who focuses on yoga, meditation, nutrition science, and more. She explained how wearables could improve data visualization, and thus optimize doctors' diagnoses and patient recommendations:
"What's most useful about wearables is they can show me the data visualization--i.e. the visual summary of whatever metric a patient is tracking over time--because it gives me a snapshot of what their life looks like when they are not in my office.If I learn for example that they are running 30 minutes four times a week, but the rest of the time they are totally sedentary at work or at home, I will recommend a standing desk, walking to work if possible, taking walk breaks during the day and incorporating weight lifting into their regimen--all things that will increase their baseline metabolic burn rate, improve their strength and energy, and combat weight gain."
Smarter Diagnoses And Research (Especially With Kids)
"I think there's a way to do research on a child outside a laboratory," said Matthew Goodwin, a behavioral science specialist and professor at Northeastern University. Wearables might be a better process of studying and diagnosing children with various illnesses.
Goodwin is researching children with autism through a wristband that measures rocking movements and other repetitive kinetic behavior connected to the developmental disorder. Goodwin explained that the wearables can help him examine "the external and internal environment that may be mediating certain behavior."
This process of research may be less limiting than studying a young boy or girl in a clinical facility, and could even add information and layers of analysis that wouldn't be found otherwise.
People and patients will own their own data and can control it with wearable tech. "The more people are actively engaged in their own health care, the more they can contribute their own research and data," noted Berzin. Wearables can improve the relationship between patients and medical professionals, and overall improve the way that humans understand and optimize the skin they live in.
For more on wearables, re-visit our first installment of Make It Wearable: