Lifesaving wearables on horizon in 2019

Wearables are spreading throughout the world and implementing themselves into more facets of our daily lives, largely due to the recent boom in wrist-worn smartwatches and fitness trackers.

By now it’s all but certain the market will continue to grow, and quickly. According to research from IDC, 2017 saw 115.4 million wearables shipped worldwide with forecasts predicting a rise to 190.4 million units by 2022.

A new wave of wearable applications are being explored, with many innovative efforts focused on improving human wellness.

Wearables to Save Lives

It’s worthy to mention that with the wild spread of workout apps and devices like the Fitbit, wellness wearables aren’t exclusive to improving exercise. Right now, wellness wearable applications are being designed to save the very lives of their users during health crises.

iWatch Fall Detection Feature

Reminiscent of the Life Alert wearables with their classic “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” slogan—the Apple Watch now includes a fall detection feature that was introduced across the series 4 models released in September of 2018.

Fall detection works by utilizing the new gyroscope and accelerometer features of the watch to detect the severity of a fall and provide immediate access to emergency services if required. When a fall is detected, an alert is given that prompts users to affirm whether they actually fell and if emergency services should be dispatched.

If the Apple watch detects you are still moving after a fall, it will wait for you to input a response. However, if users are immobile for too long after a serious fall is registered, emergency services will be contacted automatically.

Note: Unless the user has set their age as 65+ years, the fall detection feature will be turned off by default and must be activated within the Apple Watch app.

Opioid Overdose Monitoring Wristbands

According to the CDC, opioid overdoses currently kill around 130 Americans per day. In an effort to counter this drug epidemic, overdose alerting wristbands are being researched at Carnegie Mellon University.

Their device is called HopeBand, and it works by monitoring the blood oxygen levels of the wearer and setting off an alarm if those levels drop too low. If oxygen levels remain low, the device will process the data it has gathered for 10 seconds and then begin alerting. A text message is also sent out with the wearer’s location to call for aid.

The primary audience for HopeBand is high-alert addicts who are in constant danger of overdosing, and current prototypes cost roughly $30. In the future, however, the development team is hoping to bring costs down to a more accessible $16.

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