Wearables are all the craze today when it comes to fitness and health monitoring. Companies such as Apple, Fitbit, and Garmin have made significant efforts to make fitness monitoring mainstream in the past few years.
It appears that Google and its subsidiary Verily Life Sciences may be approaching the problem from a very different angle.
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A future high tech bathroom?
People can forget to wear their fitness watch or log in calorie readings on their apps, but they still have to use their bathrooms every day. After all who doesn’t have a weight scale in their bathrooms these days?
Google is approaching the health monitoring paradigm by thinking about how to redesign the bathroom space in your households.
The company believes that a method for health monitoring without interrupting a person’s daily routine by using noninvasive sensor data is the way to address the problem.
According to a recent patent filed by the company, 10,064,582, the company describes an ideal scenario.
Health monitoring and sensors in your bathroom
Assume that a person has three noninvasive health-monitoring devices in his or her bathroom. These three are a mat in front of her bathroom sink, a toilet-seat sensor, and a mirror over her bathroom sink.
The mat measures the body’s electrical behavior to provide an electrocardiogram.
The toilet-seat sensor is capable of measuring a pulse-wave velocity of the blood sufficient to provide a cardiac pressure-volume loop.
The mirror over the sink has sensors, such as a camera, that are capable of measuring skin color variations, which can indicate differential blood volume to provide a photo-plethysmogram.
Non-invasive health checks
Note that this person does not have to do anything outside of her normal course of life–simply washing her face while standing on the mat, looking into the mirror, and using the toilet provide opportunities for these three devices to sense her cardiovascular health.
Assume also that, over the course of a new diet and exercise routine, that the techniques, using data from these devices, determines that her heart’s stroke volume (and an important measure of heart health) has improved 6% in four weeks.
With this positive feedback, this person may continue her diet and exercise routine, thereby likely reducing the chances that she will die of heart disease.
Noninvasive health monitors sense a person’s health without requiring the person being sensed to explicitly operate or actively interact with the monitoring device.
Thus, a person need not put a thermometer in her mouth, attach a wired, heart rate sensor to his chest, or otherwise interrupt his or her daily routine for his or her health to be monitored.
Sensor data from these one or more noninvasive health monitors can be recorded simultaneously or very nearly at the same time and be passively sensed or actively sensed without the need for too many user actions.
The main objective of this design is to provide noninvasive feedback to cardiac patients.
Do you think that in the distant future, our bathrooms will look very different than what they are today?
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