Fast, Fit and Fertile. Bluetooth low energy spurs innovation.
- in Health
The potential of Bluetooth low energy was eloquently demonstrated at this week’s ISPOO conference in Germany, when the winners of the first year of the Bluetooth Innovation World Cup awards were announced. The competition has been running for the last year, inviting individuals and companies to submit ideas for new sports and fitness products that will be made possible by the new Bluetooth low energy standard.
Personal fitness featured high in the range of proposals, as illustrated in those from finalists Lisa Durlam and Patrick Coulbourne. Lisa and her team at Swimovate have come up with a Bluetooth enabled watch for swimmers. Accelerometers within the watch monitor the swimmer’s movement, and from that calculates their speed, number of strokes, calories burned and distance swum during each session. At the end of the swim, it connects to the swimmer’s mobile phone an uploads the data to the internet.
Patrick doesn’t like his water wet – he prefers it in its frozen form and has been applying Bluetooth low energy to a range of interactive snowsport equipment. His company – Flare Snowsport, has made an innovative use of Bluetooth low energy’s advertising capabilities to send geo-positional information, along with trail information as skiers pass by. The information is captured by a personal clip worn by the skier, which can also capture information from a heart rate, temperature and blood pressure monitor. At the end of the day, the skier can upload the data to their personal website.
Moving away from sports, Michael Kohler of Edumotion made the finals with a fertility monitoring device. The miniature device uses a thermopile to measure a women’s core body temperature, sending the data to be analysed to predict her optimal time for conception. Such a device needs to be small and lightweight if it is to be comfortable to wear and unobtrusive. The high level of integration in Bluetooth low energy chips means that personal sensors can be made that are not significantly larger than the coin cell that powers them.
But the ultimate winner was Edward Sazanov of Physical Activity Innovations. His Fit Companion clips to your shoes and monitors your movement during the day. It’s bright enough to recognise your posture, as well as whether you’re moving and how fast. It sends the data to an application on your phone, prompting you whenever it thinks you’re, it moves beyond veering into couch potato territory. By looking at overall behaviour it move significantly beyond current devices like pedometers to give a broader view of a user’s lifestyle.
This year’s awards were part of an ongoing competition. If you’ve got a good idea, log onto the participation website and tell the Bluetooth SIG how you can change the world.
As an Orthopaedic Surgeon in the US, I have been following and implementing wireless technology to prevent injuries in my broad patient population of sports enthusiasts as well as the elderly who are trying to cut their grass without inflaming their arthritic knee. Combining our Henry Performance Lab measurements of VO2 and Anaerobic Threshold data with wireless body sensors is the future of preventive medicine and the way to prevent many injuries that ultimately require surgery. Those of you with devices that need a home and a spokesperson that is familiar and knowledgeable with this field of innovation should contact me to see how we can bring your ideas and devices to market and ensure they deliver accurate data to help people make decisions for their health, performance, and prevention of injury/disease in the near future starting now. Nick Hunn in his Amsterdam webinar was very keen in his understanding why doctors would not want this. It is time to help the public understand how their body works and what parameters are safe zones for bodily function. This is no different than what humans have done to monitor and run machines in a way that prolong the machines’ life and function. We can bring affordable medical devices to the consumer within the next few years to promote healthy and active living without fear of injury. My thanks to Mr. Hunn for his insight.
Barry J. Henry, MD
Board Certified, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Subspecialist