While developers push forward with new health tech, other research teams on the hunt for solutions for specific medical conditions or health problems sometimes find new uses for existing technology. That's what happened at MyoKardia, a South San Francisco-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. MyoKardia discovered an important new use for optical biosensors similar to the sensors used in fitness trackers.
MIAMI – An ultra-sensitive, wearable sweat sensor may improve diagnosis and treatment of cystic fibrosis, diabetes and other conditions, researchers said Monday. Unlike previous sweat sensors, the new model requires only a trace of moisture to do its job and doesn't require patients to sit still for 30 minutes while it collects sweat. "This is a huge step forward," said co-author Carlos Milla, associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford University. The wearable device, designed in collaboration with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, contains flexible sensors and microprocessors that stick to the skin and stimulate sweat glands. It detects the presence of different molecules and ions -- for instance, sweat that contains more chloride generates a higher electrical voltage at the sensor's surface.
Tracking your daily physical activity could be as easy as putting on a pair of socks. Self-charging socks that are powered by your steps can monitor walking patterns and could also power wearable devices. The socks are coated in a material that conducts electricity. Contact between them and either the floor or a pair of shoes creates a small electrical current from static electricity.
Wearable technology, or devices with small motion sensors that can be worn by a consumer to provide data tracking insights, is an industry that has begun to boom. According to CCS Insight's Wearables Forecast, Worldwide, 2015 – 2019, the estimated shipment of wearable devices will reach an approximate 84 million units. By 2019, this number will reach 245 million per year. From fitness and activity trackers to smartwatches and "smart clothing," the possibilities are practically limitless within the wearable technology industry. And this growth is enhanced by the monetary rewards, as the wearable technology industry is projected to reach 25 billion in monetary value by 2019.
This customisable wearable device kit looks to help those living with autism. For many, using wearable technology like an Apple Watch or a Fitbit is a little luxury which provides extra convenience when doing exercise or daily tasks. Humans have always adorned their bodies with gadgetry -- be it for show, for utility, or both. Our timeline documents examples such as body armour, spectacles, wearable calculating aids, hearing aids, diving gear, spacesuits, exoskeletons and experiments in human-machine'cyborgs'. But that's only scraping the surface of what wearable devices have the potential to achieve, and researchers and scientists are using technology for projects from harnessing big data to help diagnose and treat disease to using smartphones and Bluetooth beacons to transform travel for the blind.