While it may seem like the planet is filled with an endless array of health threats today – everything from deadly, fast-spreading bacteria and viruses to obesity, pollution, and cancer – there’s no denying that the world today is an exponentially safer place today than it was even 150 years ago. While much of this can be attributed to advancements in the medical field, consumer technology has also played a major role in making the world we live in healthier and safer than ever before.
With the smart technology revolution in full swing, our devices and appliances are getting more intelligent and intuitive than ever – especially when it comes to the role they can play in monitoring, advising, and protecting their users’ health and wellbeing. And in an era when rapid climate change and population growth are leading to increasingly unpredictable health consequences, those fast-paced innovations are especially important. Here are just a few of the areas in which smart healthcare technology is helping people across the globe better manage and protect their health.
Smart Sun Protection
In the last few decades, the incidence of skin cancer worldwide has skyrocketed, with most of these cases being attributed to excessive UV exposure. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show back in January, L’Oreal Group unveiled La Roche-Posay’s My UV Patch, a small adhesive device designed to track its user’s sun exposure. The thin, stretchable device is applied to the skin and then monitored using a smartphone application. The patch changes color based on the amount of UV exposure, while the smartphone app uses near field communication technology to measure the user’s UV risk and provide personalized sun protection tips. With this state-of-the-art device, users can get more proactive about preventive healthcare, while increasing their awareness about the health risks they face every day.
Allergy and Pollution Solutions
Allergy incidence is also on the rise across the globe, with more people suffering from allergies to everything from foods to pollutants, to dust and pollen. Something as simple as a household dust mite can wreak havoc on the immune system, which means that keeping your home clean and allergen-free is more important than ever. Fortunately, consumer technology innovators are adapting their home appliances to incorporate next-level technologies and smart monitoring in a way that lets homeowners breathe easier (and cleaner). Companies based in the Far East have been especially dedicated to addressing this problem, which comes as little surprise considering the urgent concerns over air pollution in the region’s major metropolitan areas. LG Electronics, for example, has unveiled the LG Signature Air Purifier, which the company claims can maintain exceptional air quality, while informing the homeowner of air conditions and contaminants in the home. LG has gone even further with its HOM-BOT Turbo+, a robotic vacuum that incorporates augmented reality technology, allowing users to clean their houses effortlessly and remotely. Additionally, its camera can help act as a security system, keeping your home both dust-free and safe. Whether this device has a positive impact on air quality remains to be seen.
Thanks to modern medicines and technologies, the diseases that plagued our ancestors are largely a thing of the past. In particular, the invention of the refrigerator has helped to minimize the incidence of foodborne illnesses, and accessibility to these life-saving appliances has increased dramatically over the past several decades. More recently, the invention of solar-powered refrigerators has even helped communities with limited or unreliable electricity to maintain safe supplies of food and medication. And, believe it or not, refrigerator technology is still developing and advancing rapidly – and making homeowners and their families safer in the process. With smart technology, today’s refrigerators can alert you when food is about to expire, and can even order a fresh supply of groceries when necessary.
But while foodborne diseases are becoming rarer in the modern age, there is an increasing concern about mosquito-borne illnesses, like the Zika virus – and, until recently, technologies for repelling mosquitos consisted primarily of nets and potentially toxic chemicals. But now, companies have taken their proactive health approach a step further: LG, for example, has developed air conditioners that incorporate ultrasonic wave technology, which works to repel potentially disease-carrying mosquitos. These devices are already growing in popularity, especially in countries where mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses are prevalent.
Thus, even as health and safety priorities rapidly shift and evolve, technological innovators are working hard to stay ahead of the curve, providing us all with greater peace of mind.