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Can IoT Save Our Lives?

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Can IoT Save Our Lives?

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Digi-Key Electronics’ Internet of Things (IoT) Resource Center Inspires the Future: Read More

In the last few decades, there’s no question that technology has provided significant advances in medical research and treatments.

And while the IoT space still has incredible room to grow, many companies are looking to incorporate wearables and other Internet-connected devices to continue their research.

Take, for instance, Intel’s recent work with the Michael J. Fox Foundation regarding Parkinson’s research.

Intel has taken considerable strides regarding research into the disease that affects 1 in 500 people across the world. In fact, it has been affecting Co-Founder and former CEO, Andy Grove for the last fifteen years.

Over the past year, they’ve looked to wearables to provide answers into managing and combating the disease. Before, progression was measured more arbitrarily by a doctor. Those more familiar with Parkinson’s know that symptoms can vary throughout the day, so often, a patent’s prognosis could be misdiagnosed from appointment to appointment.

But Intel, using devices manufactured by Basis, a recent acquisition focused on health watches, has started testing on Parkinson’s patients on a full-time basis.

The watches are able to collect data on patients’ speed and range of motion, sleep quality, and frequency of tremors. Like any other smartwatch, the data was transmitted (at a rate of 300 times per second) to a smartphone, and collected by Intel’s researchers.

Apart from Intel’s efforts, other companies are looking to wearables to treat other conditions. 

SunSprite is working on a tracker to make sure you’re getting enough sun. According to studies at Harvard Medical School, a significant amount of Americans are not getting enough daily sunlight. For many, work prevents people from getting enough bright light, which can affect body temperature, digestion, sleep patterns, and mood.

With daylight savings time beginning in the United States, the National Institute of Health believes 10% of Americans will suffer from seasonal affective disorder, depression brought about by a lack of sun.

SunSprite’s tracker will accurately track your exposure to light. Instead of prescribing medicine, doctors will be able to prescribe a certain amount of light exposure (measured in lux), and SunSprite’s device will be able to track your progress in real time, straight to your smartphone.

Not only can it track your exposure to light, the device will also have a UV sensor, which can be used year-round to warn you against too much sun exposure.

It’s clear that fitness and general health wearables are a large market, and will only get bigger in the coming years. But even more impressive are the implementations we can use to actually combat and treat disease. Perhaps we’re only a few years away from a smart watch that can mitigate arthritis or administer chemotherapy. Maybe IoT really can save our lives.

Digi-Key’s IoT Component Selector is your one-stop-shop for the IoT


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