Health Tech

Article by: Joyce Chen

According to Huffington Post, the average American life expectancy in 1900s was merely 47 years, but by the beginning of the new millenium, the life expectancy increased to almost 77 years. The dramatic increase of 30 years in life expectancy was the result of numerous factors, such as safe food supply, clean water provision, personal security, and most importantly, the remarkable advancement in medical technology in the diagnosis and treatment of  disease. These medical technologies include contact lenses, artificial heart valves and computerized tomography.

In the context of the 21st century, health has been raised as a priority more frequently than any other century. We have grown to be extremely conscious of what we should eat and what we should do to keep our bodies healthy. To meet this current trend, many companies are focusing on developing new technologies that could help us take care of our health.

IMG_7312The originally less productive health technology market is now getting more competitions. Recently, Microsoft released “Microsoft Band”, a fitness tracker, for Windows phones, Android and iPhones. It not only incorporates commonplace fitness features such as a step counters and distance tracking, but also contain the newly developed high-tech features such as calories calculator, heart rate monitor along with the Global Positioning System. Meanwhile, Nintendo is developing a sleep sensor to improve the “quality of life” (QOL). According to Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata, QOL is a non-contact radio frequency sensor that “measures movements of your body, breathing and heartbeat” and keeps track of the user’s sleep habits. Then the data gathered would be transmitted to the QOL cloud servers, which will then “analyze the data measured by the sensor and visually represent sleep and fatigue results”. These technologies target a wide variety of users, ranging from teenagers to elderlies.

The health related technologies are familiar to ISM students. One senior girl commented that “I don’t use many advanced health tech, because I think we are still too young for that, but there are some simple applications I use to keep track of how much I exercise, how much I eat and how much I drink everyday”. Cristian Garcia, a keen runner, said that he often uses a heart rate monitor when he goes running. And similarly, Emily Kobayashi, a three season IASAS athlete, says that she uses health technologies such as Nike Training and Polar for workout. Health technologies and applications definitely play an important role in students’ lives.

Overall, “healthcare is a reactive, rather than proactive industry,” said Zoe Barry, CEO and Founder of the healthcare startup ZappRx. With more and more students using health related technologies, the industry would definitely be able to research and develop more.