In class on Tuesday, March 18, we spoke about the difference between front office and back office in terms of the potential for ICTs in education. On Thursday we spoke of ICTs for health. This article is about technologies that keep you away from the office altogether—the doctor’s that is. Most of these technologies are mHealth technologies, defined by Meredith on her blog here. There are eight initiatives: “smart” pill bottles, health tracking briefs, ThriveOn for customized mental health help, wearable fall protection underwear, baby monitor clipped to clothes, smart footwear, smartphone thermometer, and Scandu Scout to analyze vitals on your smartphone. These are all new concepts that were on display at a recent South by Southwest conference. I am going to analyze the two types of technological underwear. Pixie Scientific is the company that created the health tracking briefs, smart diapers that contain an indicator panel that tracks UTIs and monitors hydration to prevent disease. These diapers sound like a great idea for public health, more so than the ActiveProtective underwear with 3-D motion sensors to detect falls.
However, if Pixie Scientific and ActiveProtective could combine the two? How amazing! They would be preventing UTIs by tracking hydration, injury with micro-airbags in the underwear, and a call for help. The cons to these undergarments would be cost—Pixie Scientifics briefs are disposable and the infant version has been around for a while. ActiveProtective must be brand new, because there is not any information online yet, but I can’t imagine micro airbags and whatever “call for help” technology is, is cheap. Pixie Scientific seems to still be in its research stage. I found a funding project for the program on indiegogo. The company claims they will use the $21,491 raised to “fund manufacturing, a data-gathering study at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, and another study meant to collect data for FDA registration”. Mainly these diapers will screen for: urinary tract infections, prolonged dehydration, and developing kidney problems. According to UrologyHealth, approximately 40 percent of women and 12 percent of men will experience at least one UTI in their lifetimes. I’m a big fan of these diapers because I’m a public health major, and if they can reach their stretch goals: to search for endemic diseases and screen for early signs of type 1diabetes, that would be a huge deal in terms of promoting higher quality of life through disease prevention.