Personalized health technology on display at CES 2020
I mentioned in my last column that when I attended CES 2020, it would be the 50th trade show I would attend. After these many years of attending CES, I have developed a very focused approach to what I want to see and experience in the four days I am there.
While a lot of my time is spent in meetings and seeing things behind the scenes, I try to be in the showroom for at least several hours. For this time to be effective, I need to figure out what I want to see in person. Of course, I always love to see what’s new in TV and audio and I was blown away by Samsung 292 “wall-mounted TV and LG’s roll-up TV, but this year I wanted to explore the digital health solutions realm and all of those products were at Sands Expo.
I have had type 2 diabetes for 20 years and in 2012 I had triple bypass surgery. In medical circles, I am known as a heart patient as well as a diabetic patient and I have to monitor several of my vital signs daily. For example, I have to take my blood pressure every other day and use a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor to keep track of my blood sugar readings at all times. This is especially important to me since I use this data to determine how much insulin I need to take at mealtimes.
The idea that technology can help people monitor and even treat their health has been around for decades. Over-the-counter blood pressure testing devices are used by millions of people daily, but it is only recently that digital systems related to a compression cuff have come onto the market. Last year, Omron introduced its blood pressure watch, the first of its kind in a wearable device called the Heart Guide. I also saw a few similar products at CES in the form of wearable blood pressure bracelets.
We have had blood sugar test kits to get blood sugar readings using pricks and test strips for years, but now we have digital readings and some can be used with iPhone or Android phone like this one. of Dario. We even have digital thermometers and digital scales that can determine your body mass index.
The latest class of health monitoring devices are coming out in portable form and these are the ones I was most interested in during my time at CES.
I’m already familiar with health monitoring on wearable devices since the Dexcom Continuous Blood Glucose Monitor I wear allows me to get my blood sugar reading on my Apple Watch. At any time, I can take a look at my Apple Watch and know exactly what my blood sugar readings are. I also monitor heart rate on this watch and use the ECG function on the Apple Watch Model 5 to get an accurate reading of heart rate fluctuations and watch for any signs of atrial fibrillation (atrial fibrillation).
Some of the newer smartwatches or dedicated wearable devices match what Apple does in terms of ECGs and beats per minute, but the folks at Withing have added another new health monitoring feature that looks for signs of damage. ‘Sleep Apnea. Their new Analyze the watch uses an advanced sleep tracking system to monitor sleep apnea. Twenty-two million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, according to sleepapenea.org and finding out that one has this health problem is essential for one’s health and longevity.
According to Market Research Engine, the digital health monitoring market is should grow up to $ 245.5 billion by 2024, and that will be boosted by many new advancements in wearable health monitoring devices.
There is still a holy grail in blood sugar self-monitoring that the scientific community has hinted at so far and that involves finding a way to determine blood sugar levels that are completely non-invasive via some type of laptop. Although the Dexcom sensor I wear is considered non-invasive, it uses extremely small sensor “needles” that are implanted in the skin to reach the body. interstitial fluid it’s between the skin and the muscle.
Continuous blood glucose monitors draw on this fluid and can determine glucose levels. The other way medical scientists try to get glucose readings in a wearable device is by using a form of ultraviolet light or pulsed light waves implemented in a wearable device on the wrist.
My sources tell me that Apple is very interested in this type of approach to reading blood sugar levels, using some form of light waves delivered to the back of an Apple Watch.
One product I saw at CES was from ADD Care LTD, based in Hong Kong, called the Glutrac. They claim they use sensors to read blood glucose levels. The person I spoke to said that it uses a certain type of light wave, but I was never able to confirm that these sensors work. Having said that, the demo I got, which was completely non-invasive, was very impressive. While it is true that they did find a way to use light wave sensors to read blood sugar, it would be seen as a breakthrough in non-invasive ways of getting blood sugar readings.
They haven’t submitted it for FDA approval yet, so if it works, it may still be a long way off before it’s available in the United States.
The other area that interests me is self-treatment solutions and two CES products caught my attention. Tivic Health’s first, ClearUP, won a CES Innovation Award and was featured at the Innovation Awards Center at Sands. It was also one of the products of the latest gadget standing competetion.
Tivic The technology delivers a low-level electrical stimulation called a microcurrent to nerve fibers in the underlying sinuses. It provides sinus pain relief without drugs or chemicals and has been shown to be an effective way to treat sinus pain caused by allergies. It is part of a new class of medical products called Bio-Electronics.
Another self-treatment product that I have come across is that of Warmth of relief. This is a heating pad that can be worn and placed on the back to relieve pain by rewarming. It connects to a smartphone app via Bluetooth and you can turn it on and control the heat level on demand. This one, I was able to test it at the end of the first day of CES, when my back was aching from the whole day of walking. I wore it for about 15 minutes and was really amazed at how great it felt on my back and how it completely relieved the back pain from my stressful day.
I admit that my interest in health monitoring and self-treatment is very different from that of mainstream consumers, but these types of products get a lot of interest from people of all age groups, especially those over 25.
Technology-based health surveillance and self-treatment will become a strong segment in the tech world and will be one to watch closely in the future.