a new take on wearable devices

The next generation of wearable health tech is all about collecting personal information — a patient’s heart rhythm, for example — and sending it directly to a healthcare professional (in this case via a remote stethoscope). According to ABI Research, a technology market intelligence company, annual wearable wireless medical device sales will reach more than 100 million devices by 2016.

Devices that monitor personal behavior will be getting more and more sophisticated. There’s the AIRO wristband, which uses a built-in spectrometer to detect nutrients released into your bloodstream as they are broken down during and after your meals. And a device being developed by TellSpec will analyze the chemical composition of food in real time to let you know on your smartphone exactly what’s in that hamburger or brownie sundae.

AiQ’s BioMan t-shirt has ribbed “smart sleeves” that measure your heart rate, respiration rate and skin temperature. The shirt can also measure electrophysiological signals such as EKG, electroencephalography (EEG) or electromyography (EMG).

Feet are getting into the act, too, with Moticon, a wireless sensor insole that can be used in any shoe to measure the distribution and motion parameters for patients and athletes, turning your shoe into a wireless performance tracking system. The sensor insole is fitted with firmware that communicates with PC software via a USB radio stick.

Bluetooth technology is key in systems such as 9Solutions IPCS, which uses it to track elderly patients’ movements and send health measurements to caregivers. BodyTel uses the same Bluetooth technology to allow patients to wirelessly send measured body values to their healthcare providers.