Robots for catching Zs, a toothbrush that makes you ask Y? What’s next?
This is what the 'Davos of tech' tells us about the future of health
When it comes to weird and wonderful technology, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES, for short) practically wrote the book.
The annual trade fair showcases upcoming trends from the world of technology, and increasingly that means not only fancy TVs and cutting-edge laptops, but health tech too.
Worldwide, the healthcare technology industry is said to be worth about $300bn, a figure that is set to increase, given the ageing global population.
Predictably, tech brands are falling over themselves to grab a piece of the pie – with sublime ideas often commingling with the ridiculous.
We’ve collected some of the more “out there” examples from this year’s show to give you an insider’s look into the potential health tech of the next few years. And our list begins with a robot that wants a cuddle ...
Somnox Robot An odd little device that you cuddle as you fall asleep. It “breathes”, pulsing in your arms, providing a calming rhythm that your body will subconsciously match and so calming you for sleep.
“The shape is designed such that people maintain a natural position when hugging it without deviating from the natural neck and shoulder alignment,” say Somnox, but what they really mean is “our robot is the best robot for snuggling”. GrooveX Lovot
Definitely one of the cutest robots on the show floor at this year’s CES, Lovot is designed to help promote positive mental health, particularly in older people in need of companionship.
It’s a smart speaker and is able to answer your questions – but rather than the normal black Alexa or Google Assistant box, it has a bit of personality, face recognition, and it’ll even fall asleep in your arms. Plus you can dress it up in various outfits, including the fetching kimonos pictured above.
According to one report, the whole idea was to “build a robot cuter than [Star Wars character] BB-8”. Job done, we’d say. Y-Brush
This Y-shaped toothbrush could be the shake-up dentists have been looking for. You pop it in your mouth, chomp down, and the brushes get to work as you chew on them, giving you the perfect clean in just 10 seconds.
The brush has been designed around the “bass method”, which the folks behind Y-Brush describe as “a technical brushing movement consisting of tilting the head of your toothbrush at a 45° angle while making a rolling motion that more effectively removes plaque, debris, and bacteria from deep under your gum line”. It sounds more scientific than it looks, basically. Pillo pill dispenser
For those who need to remember to take their medicine every day, look no further than Pillo. This chirpy little voice assistant will give you your pills when you need them, remind you to take them, and you can even ask it questions about your health and the medicine it is giving to you.
No one has quite gone as far as to call it “the Alexa of medicine”, but that’s basically what it is. Giiro posture coach
Good posture ensures your muscles are under less stress and are less fatigued, hence standing desks are so popular. But standing up for ages doesn’t necessarily lead to great posture. That’s where Giiro comes in.
Simply slide a pressure-sensitive mat under your standing desk, connect it to Giiro, and this little robot will ensure you’re standing properly by copying your movements with its own “body”. Samsung Bot Care
Robot doctors are looking more likely by the day. This robot can do heart-rate monitoring, blood-pressure tests, remind you to take medication, offer guidance on exercise and stretching, and even notify medics in the event of an emergency.
In addition, Samsung promises the Bot Care can track “user’s sleep, and greet in the morning with an analysis of sleep patterns” as well as keeping you apprised of the weather and your daily schedule while playing music to fit your mood.
A doctor, a weather forecaster, a PA and a DJ – human doctors are going to have a tough time keeping up.
This sensor-laden vest can predict heart attacks before they happen. It’s still waiting on regulatory approval but seems pretty helpful for people diagnosed with chronic or congestive heart failure.
Of course, Sod’s Law means that you’re basically guaranteed to have a heart attack on the one day you’re not wearing it. Healbe GoBe 2
This device is similar to the fitness trackers you know and love, but it can apparently count calories as you eat them. No more checking the labels, or adding up calories, or just guessing.
If Healbe can make it work, it could be a fitness tracking revolution. Unfortunately, according to some of the folks on the show floor, the calorie calculations aren’t always 100% accurate just yet. Welt Smart Belt
It looks like a belt, feels like a belt and works like a belt. But it’s also a fitness tracker, logging your steps and sending them to your smartphone app.
In addition to merely holding your trousers up, the Welt can tell you the circumference of your waist and let you know when you’ve overeaten, tracking when you’re most likely to be tempted to do so.
This miniature ultrasound scanner, the size of an electric razor, connects to your iPhone to show your baby in real time. No doubt, expecting parents will enjoy checking up on their baby without having to book a trip to the hospital.
Sadly, for the time being this device can only be purchased by a physician licensed to practise in the US, so it might be a while before we’re all live-streaming our ultrasounds on Facebook ...
Halo Sport 2
These fancy sport headphones are all about neuropriming (we hadn’t heard of it either). Essentially, they fire pulses of energy into your brain, making you more alert and better able to learn new skills and exercises.
This apparently ensures you do your exercises properly and get more out of them. “To lift more weight, your brain needs to send a stronger signal to your muscles. With Halo Sport, your brain strengthens that signal faster,” says Halo Neuroscience. A cool concept, but is it too good to be true?
Two different devices from two different companies, but both do basically the same thing. They act as little breathalysers to measure carbon dioxide/hydrogen (respectively) in your breath and work out how well you’re digesting food and burning calories to work out how good your metabolism is.
Each comes with an accompanying app that will suggest recipes tailored to the user’s personal metabolism to help them burn fat quicker.
Unfortunately, studies around the science of this kind of breath-testing haven’t been peer-reviewed yet.
– © The Daily Telegraph