A week ago, TechCrunch featured an article titled Myths and Misconceptions of Our Wearable Future. The author reviewed numerous PR hype and science-fiction-fueled ideas that are prevalent around wearable hardware (a bit of software too) and that may mislead consumers in different areas of life and business industries.
A misconception that has been seen in Health IT is related to “small, specialized consumer health devices that can measure your blood pressure without a pressuring cuff, or measure your blood sugar without utilizing a needle pinprick.”
“This might come as a surprise, but mHealth products are some of the bestselling consumer sensor products. Those pinprick glucose meters? That’s an annual market of over $10 billion. And the market’s Holy Grail is finding a way to use optical sensors in order to avoid needing to puncture the skin. Such systems rely on shining a light through the skin to read tiny variations in the blood stream and determine blood sugar content or pressure. Sounds incredible but unfortunately, in spite of all the R&D and progress within labs, there isn’t yet such a device that is accurate enough to pass FDA muster.”
“While devices for measuring blood oxygen content and skin conductivity exist, other functionality such as optical blood pressure measurement is still in the lab. Even relatively mature optical devices for heart rate measurement are proving difficult to introduce in the real world, partly because they are very susceptible to motion and ‘noise’, which requires complex and processing-intensive filtering in order to extract valid signals from the sea of noise. Add to that different wrist sizes & bone structures that change vein location on the wrist and a device will get significant reading variations.”
Read the full article here, written by Hamid Farzaneh.