Now is the age of quantified self, a movement that refers to our obsession of collecting data about ourselves.
The convergence of technology and health has never been more pronounced than it is today, when gamification of the data collected has spurred people to compete against each other.
So you reached the 10,000-steps-a-day fitness quota, 2,000 steps more than your “underachiever” friend, and were awarded a virtual medal by an app. What now? Do you even know what your achievement means?
While walking 10,000 steps a day has many health benefits, including regulating blood pressure and improving blood glucose levels, those are the helpful knowledge that regular fitness bands do not inform its consumers. At the end of the day, people end up collecting numbers they don’t even understand.
“That’s where we come in,” said Selina Thurer, VP and GM for personal health, Philips Asean and Pacific, during the panel interview at the Philips Innovation Experience 2015 in Singapore. “We’re taking this technology to a new level. We’re coming out with a device that will translate those data into useful information.”
The fitness band will indicate, for instance, how 10,000 walking steps affect your heart health, weight loss, blood glucose level.
Thurer dismissed the Johnny-come-lately inference from fitness bands devotees. She said that apart from giving useful information, the fitness band will do mentoring and coaching.
You can input health goals, and the band will direct you how to achieve them, in terms of exercise routines and frequency.
“If I want to train for a marathon, or lose weight or avoid a heart problem,” Thurer said, “there are ways the device can help me with that. As long as we employ technology in the right way, we are now looking into how it can be an enabler for achieving a healthier lifestyle.”
What that means, she noted, is empowering people in an easy and convenient way by feeding them personalized, practical and helpful data to improve their lives.
Still on its prototype stage, the Philips fitness band is set to be released in Asia early next year.
The Philips Innovation Experience 2015 showcased the portfolio of products that has been, and will be, game-changers in the health industry.
It rolled out its Cloud-based solutions so that consumers, health-care professionals and hospitals can access someone’s medical history should an emergency arise when one is in a foreign country.
“It’s like an ATM,” said Diederik Zeven, VP and GM for healthcare, Philips Asean and Pacific. “Anywhere in the world you can access your bank information or withdraw money in the local currency. Why not do the same thing for health records?”
Without medical records on hand, for example, a diabetic patient in a life-or-death situation may not be injected with insulin. The Cloud-based solutions can change all that. It will provide care across the health continuum, connecting patients from the hospitals all the way to their homes.
There is a lot of work involved here, Zeven said, including getting medical accreditation and permits, as these will vary from country to country. But even caregivers stand to benefit from this, he added, when digital technology can help them collaborate more efficiently and effectively with the patients and doctors.
There is the eCareCompanion and the eCareCoordinator under the Digital Health Platform.
Philips has also made advancement in diagnosing breast and prostate cancer.
“We now have a device that allows us to start modeling how aggressive a cancer cell is,” Zeven said, “whether there is a need for surgery, or a combination of surgery/radiation/chemotherapy, or maybe it just needs to be actively monitored.”
A line of drug-free solutions was also unveiled. PulseRelief aims to relieve chronic pain and enables patients to control the gadget discreetly with an iOS or Android app.
Pain can now be tracked, before and after treatment. The PulseRelief is a wireless electrotherapy that delivers clinically proven TENS (Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve Stimulation) to help relieve pain.
Studies suggest that TENS can activate the body’s pain-suppressing mechanisms, such as blocking pain signals going to the brain and releasing instead the feel-good endorphins.
The device has 20 treatments with 60 intensity levels. Fifteen treatments can relieve mild to moderate chronic musculoskeletal pain, osteoarthritis pain and chronic pain in general. The other five offer muscle stimulation.
A wearable treatment for psoriasis using blue LED lights was also launched. BlueControl can reduce outbreaks and severity of the skin disease sans the side effects of current clinical treatments. This is the world’s first wearable phototherapy for mild to moderate plaque psoriasis.
The device is made of 40 safe, integrated blue LEDs, a visible light range that is free of the risks of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
According to studies, blue LED light is nontoxic for the skin, and its treatment can induce natural processes in the skin to help alleviate plaque symptoms.
“We are driving awareness to keep people out of the emergency room,” Zeven said, “or addressing earlier symptoms of certain diseases like prostate cancer so they become treatable. We see a future where people will die with prostate cancer, not die from prostate cancer.”
Beyond health, Philips also announced a new innovation in light technology called indoor position. This rolled out in a supermarket in Europe this year, where LED lights provide the positioning grid and, via an app, shoppers can track their precise position in the grocery store.
That may sound trivial, but once the phone is pointed to a row of canned vegetables, for example, useful information about the canned food will pop out of the screen.
If a can of shoestring beets sounds alien, the app can recommend cooking ideas, recipes, nutritional information and more. Information will depend on what the retailer thinks its consumers should see.
Philips also knows that city farming will soon be a huge thing for urban residents. It showcased the GrowWise City Farming using Horticultural Lighting. It’s hydroponics using a unique combination of LED light solutions.
It’s indoor farming not affected by weather, temperature, or even insects and pesticides. All it needs to grow vegetables are the LED lights, and some fertilizer and water. LED lights act as the sun, providing nutrients to the plants. They are perfect for indoor farms as they do not produce heat and can last for up to 15 years.
“We live in a time of great changes and challenges,” said Fabian Wong, Philips CEO for Asean and Pacific. “For an innovative company like ours, this also means new opportunities. Sometimes this requires the courage to make bold decisions to grab these opportunities. Success is the result of ambition, courage and action.”
Philips also introduced kitchen appliances, such as the Viva Digital AirFryer, Avance Collection Noodle Maker, induction-based rice cooker from Avance Collection so that rice is evenly cooked.
It also launched air purifiers; the air and micro-droplet technology called Sonicare AirFloss Pro that can remove up to 99.9 percent of plaque; Avant Digital Video Baby Monitor; and pacifiers.
For more information, visit Philips Innovation Experience.