When I started writing about consumer healthcare, my goal was to answer questions received from a small network of quantified-selfers – which fitness trackers are best, what apps are the most effective for fitness, how long should I wait for x, y, z? The more companies visited, CEOs interviewed, and conferences attended, the more young and vital the consumer healthcare market seemed. The $502 billion consumer healthcare market is expected to grow by nearly 50% to $737 billion over the next five years and the adoption of wearables (21% in 2014) is about 2 years behind the adoption of tablets (20% in 2012, 40% in 2014). As healthcare wearables become more widely adopted and mainstream, the additional spend will spur more growth and innovation, elevating consumer health to the next global trend. To align properly for the next phase of our blog’s expansion, we’re growing the team and shifting to a more global brand to broaden our readership and scope. We are excited to start 2015 by launching a new website with a new look. Come visit us at BoldHC!
I first wrote about Goji Play last December, and since then they have more than tripled the number of games linked to the platform. The device and fitness wearable attaches to any cardio machine to track workout metrics. The data relays back to a tablet or phone, which can be sync’d to any one of Goji’s games. The faster you move, the better you play in the game.
For those of you indulging in a couple pieces of Halloween chocolate, note how many calories these fun sizes can add up to! Here are the number of games (and minutes of cardio) it takes to burn off some of the top Halloween candies:
Goji Play comes with wireless controllers and a clip on activity sensor. Compatible games are available on any iOS device. At less than $100, Goji Play transforms any piece of cardio equipment into a gaming machine. Available at bluegoji.com or Amazon.com today.
Pavlok is a resolutions focused wristband that aims to change habits and train behavior through electric shock. Yes, the wristband sends a shock every time you miss a deadline, goal, or habit. The shock is noticeable – like a static shock on a cold, dry, winter day – but not enough to hurt you. The device can deliver around 200 shocks a day, which the company claims for a typical user will last 4 days on a full charge. 50 shocks a day! The founding team researched that it takes between 30-60 days to break most bad habits and create better ones – so after a couple months of continuous wear, you should be well along your way to a more accountable you.
For those who prefer not to be shocked so often (I would certainly be the one yelling ‘ouch!’ on the bus), beeping, vibrating, monetary penalties, and posting on your social network are other conditioning motivators. Pavlok is great for aspirational habits like waking up on time, going to the gym regularly, quitting smoking, and conquering time wasting distractions. The app monitors your goals and gives you real-time progress reports.
The Indiegogo campaign is halfway through, so if willing yourself to hit the gym via calendar reminders isn’t working, Pavlok might help.
Kindara wants women to take ownership of their reproductive health, and meet their fertility (or pregnancy avoidance) goals. The Kindara Fertility app has helped women get pregnant faster, avoid pregnancy naturally, and better understand their cycles. The Company has moved into hardware now and their first device is called Wink.
Wink is an oral thermometer that tracks your Basal Body Temperature, a key fertility indicator. Wink should be used every morning before getting out of bed. The sensor captures temperature quickly and syncs the data to the Kindara mobile app, which tracks the data over time. This data is analyzed and can be shared with doctors and specialists to aid in pregnancy planning. Kindara is accepting pre-orders now.
Netatmo’s June is a connected cosmetic device that protects skin from sun damage. It is an elegant bracelet that has UVA and UVB sensors to collected sun exposure data and transmit coverage recommendations to a mobile app. The app has a basic understanding of the user’s skin type (asks 6 initial questions including hair color, eye color, how do you usually tan, etc.), and based on the World Health Organization’s skin and sun criteria, the app calculates your daily sun dose percentage.
The device is meant to be a luxury piece that doesn’t interfere with your lifestyle, but instead enhances it. The app sends you alerts when you should reapply sunscreen, can tell you when to wear sunglasses or a hat, and can be pre-set to inform you when your sun exposure reaches certain levels.
Netatmo’s mission is to monitor the environment to create a healthier lifestyle through connected home and connected beauty (other products include a weather station and thermostat). As Eléonore de Fournas, PR Manager explains, “The bracelet is designed for women and targets users who may not always have sun exposure on their minds as they go about their daily lives – when they go to work, have lunch, practice an outdoor activity, or send their kids to school. It’s for women who want to take care of their skin, and prevent skin damage.”
Virginie Golicheff, Head of Communications emphasizes, “It’s really a sun coach – we wanted the design to be nice and more closely related to a piece of jewelry than a tracker. We want to teach people about their skin and educate them around UV exposure.”
It’s surprising how much sun exposure one gets after eating lunch for 30 minutes outside – almost the full 100% if there isn’t cloud coverage or if the user hasn’t applied sunscreen. Eléonore elaborates, “It’s shocking how much sun you get without noticing – and especially when it’s a bit cloudy, people really don’t think about UVA, UVB on your skin – but with June you can see that skin damage happens regardless of direct exposure.”
June has a one month battery life before recharge, which supports the goal of not being too intrusive. It is also water resistant. You can order it now from the website.
Moov is a new wearable that combines fitness tracking with real-time audio coaching. The device can be worn on your wrist or ankle* and sync’d with various apps depending on workout type. Moov is currently compatible with running, cycling, cardio boxing, and swimming. The device transmits your data (for running it includes stride length, impact, cadence, range of motion, etc.) to the app for analysis, and the app transmits in-the-moment feedback via your headphones. For instance, the feedback can tell you to shorten your stride to save energy so you can run faster, to land more softly, to swing your arms up and down (and not side to side), or to run with your shoulders back for better posture.
Running with Moov was fun – the coaching was unobtrusive but still effective. I changed my form while using it, opting for quicker shorter strides rather than large lunging ones to improve efficiency and stamina.
Based on your interval level performance, the app suggests higher or lower levels to try. It keeps track of all your data points so you can compare your progress over time.
*I wanted to test ankle vs. wrist accuracy for the device. I wore Moov on my wrist to do levels 3, 6, 9. The coaching worked great but when I stopped to end the workout on my phone it couldn’t find the Moov on my wrist – perhaps it was because I wasn’t moving it around enough when I stopped – and it lost all the data on that set. For best use and precision in running, I would suggest wearing it on your ankle. It’s light enough to ignore and small enough so it doesn’t affect stride length.
The data tracking on the Moov is excellent, which is a testament to the founding team – Nikola Hu, a former Apple and HALO game engineer, Meng Li and Tony Yuan. The company plans to roll out apps for other activities and uses going forward, and an Android app is slated for November 2014 launch. The second batch is available for pre-order now.
Myontec launched its Kickstarter campaign last week to bring Mbody, intelligent sports shorts, to consumers. The shorts are packed with embedded sensors that monitor muscle load, balance ratio, heart rate and cadence. Mbody is currently used by professional athletes (institutions including the LA Lakers, Redbull North America and the National Olympic Committee) to better understand how to maximize athletic performance without putting the body at risk of injury. The campaign will help bring the price down to less than half of what professional athletes pay – for the exact same hardware and software.
Additionally, Myontec is raising awareness for Mbody’s newest feature, the Mbody Coach. The Mbody Coach is a real-time audio-coaching system that analyzes the data from the shorts and gives body function and training insights directly to users through their earbuds. Insights include performance updates, warnings, problem detection signals, and training instructions.
Myontec was established six years ago, and since then has poured time and research into the material and placement of its sensors for best accuracy of data. The embedded sensors in the shorts measure EMG for both the hamstrings and the quadriceps, and relay that information to the MCell that transmits it to the app. The MCell has about 12 hours of charge life, or roughly 8 hours of recording time. The past three years were spent on refining and proving the technology and building relationships with top teams and training centers.
The responsiveness and quickness of the app is startling. Janne Pylväs, sales and marketing lead at Myontec, demoed the shorts. The app reacted in real-time. A tangible example of how Mbody helps with training is in the warm-up period. When you start to run, the app notifies you when your muscles are fully warmed up, which helps prevent injuries.
Myontec has a cloud service where you can analyze and compare data over periods of time. 7% of muscle injuries are because of muscle imbalances. As Janne explains, “The shorts can tell what the ratio of quad to hamstring pressure is. For example, when you are running you should use more hams than quads. For people who are the opposite, it means that they are heel striking. Using Mbody, we can show that you are improving your technique and improving performance.”
Janne mentioned that 1/3 of all their corporate clients have at least one problem. He for one had terrible back pain on his right side. His physiologist gave him painkillers. After wearing the shorts, Janne showed his doctor the data, which prompted his doctor to dig further. Janne was videotaped walking and just as the Mbody data hinted, on one side of his walk, his knee was going in while his hip was going out. The LA Lakers medical trainers found that one of their top players had something similar, which means that the trainers can work with the coaches to better personalize workouts and prevent injuries on an individual level. You might have loose hips, a slightly shorter leg, or a twisted back and not even know it.
Kickstarter folks will get the Mbody kit before it hits general retail in April 2015. If the shorts do well, the Company is thinking of moving towards a sensor-filled shirt for the following year. We are sure to see great things come from Myontec.
I sat down with Sina Fateh, Executive Vice President, Ketan Joshi, VP of Marketing and Theo Goguely, Senior Product Manager of Atheer Labs at Health 2.0 to learn more about their immersive augmented reality glasses.
Tell me about the company.
Ketan: “We call it augmented interactive reality – you can reach out and interact with the device very naturally while communicating with your peers.”
Sina: “I’m a medical doctor by background – a tablet is good to have, but when doctors are moving around, they have to bring the tablet with them everywhere. If I have a tablet in my hand, then I’m not being hands-on with my patient any more. We allow doctors to access information at any time, without losing patient interaction.”
What are other problems that this solves?
Sina: “As a surgeon, the time you spend changing gloves and washing your hands, scrubbing in and out, can take hours per day. If you need to access a touch screen, you have to take your gloves off. If you need to check data on a computer outside the operating room, you have to scrub out and back in. We want to reduce all this unnecessarily wasted time. Also, Atheer eliminates health contamination. Contamination is not just viral – when you have many people using the same keyboard to access information, you have a lot of fingers touching shared hospital technology, which is an easy way to pass on germs.”
The system has wide ranging capabilities since annotations can be overlaid on live objects. The system can also display information on top of a video feed.
The device – dual displays, see-through optics, variety of 3-D sensors to capture hand gestures and objects, RGB camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, and more.
How do you compete with other ‘Glass’ devices?
Ketan: “Google Glass is a monocular device. There is very little surface area to show information. Other wearables are tethered, so you have to physically touch the device or an external trackpad. This is the first glass device where you can communicate your data to others by simply gesturing in the air. It is contamination free and mobile. We have a strong patent portfolio that highlights our specialty in virtual touch and visual ergonomics.”
Sina: “We can personalize content and fit to you. As soon as you wear it, we do a tiny calibration tailored to you. Our brain likes to be focused on one thing rather than many – especially when we are reading – so anything we see in-between is eliminated. That is why we went for two lenses. With one lens there is no depth. With Atheer, I can read a 3D annotation while looking at you at the same time.”
Theo: “You can render objects in 3D and look at one object from all viewpoints.”
Theo Goguely, Senior Product Manager, demoing the device.
Who are your customers?
Kenta: “We are focused on enterprise companies because they understand the utility of the product in making job functions more efficient and safe. Consumer interest will catch up eventually.”
Theo: “We are iterating fast. With each version, the device will be lighter and smaller, which will be more socially acceptable as well.”
When are you aiming to launch to the public?
Atheer is looking to launch in the 2nd half of next year. They are initially concentrating on enterprise clients, with consumers to follow. Their enterprise target market includes industrial applications, healthcare applications (nurses, operating rooms, surgeons), oil and gas (remote field workers), defense and construction. Are you a developer interested in creating 3D applications for Atheer? SDK and docs can be found here: Developer Portal.
Chris Glode, VP, Connected Fitness, Under Armour spoke at Health 2.0 about Under Armour’s redoubled efforts to focus specifically on women’s fitness. Their campaign, UA Women – I Will What I Want has two core components – tracking personal fitness, while building the ultimate friendly yet competitive community of friends and favorite athletes (like Lindsey Vonn). Chris mentioned, “We integrate with over 400 devices today. We can use the iPhone motion sensor to track your fitness activities as well. We coalesce all the data into a single view of the truth about your daily activity.” The app works beautifully with the iPhone 6, taking the data from the phone’s dual accelerometers to note daily steps taken and calories burned on a simple and elegant dashboard.
Indu Subaiya (CEO of Health 2.0), Rick Valencia (SVP + General Manager, Qualcomm Life), Adam Pellegrini (VP Digital Health, Walgreens), David Ziegler (Mobile Product Management, WebMD)
Here’s a brief update on how these giant companies are focusing on consumer health, at a very personal level.
Rick Valencia (Qualcomm Life)
Qualcomm Life is on a mission to ”Move from synchronous care (a 1:1 relationship) to asynchronous care (especially for patients living with chronic conditions). Today it is a nurse on a phone with a patient. What we are trying to do is give those nurses patient data on a regular basis and have them act on the important data without waiting for the patient to call in,” says Rick. “We are making medical devices interoperable. Letting data flow without having patients register. A kit will show up at a patients home and the data can start flowing. We want to make it as simple as humanly possible.”
Through the acquisition of Healthy Circles, information from the 2net Platform is now managed on a platform/web based app that elegantly and reliably captures and delivers data designed for security and interoperability.
Adam Pellegrini (Walgreens)
Walgreens recently launched a program called Healthy Choices where members can earn Balance Rewards for making healthy decisions. The decisions range from getting an immunization and refilling a prescription to tracking weight changes and linking fitness trackers. Adam describes the program as, ”Omni-channel digital health – we process prescription refills through the app, give points through the app, and are able to reward those online interactions in-store. The app provides and supports simple habits online and offline.” 110 devices are currently integrated into the rewards program, and Walgreens just launched their nationwide marketing campaign this month.
Walgreens is also partnering with Aisle411 to test Google’s 3-D Tango technology to make in-store shopping a more immersive mobile experience. The system can overlay navigation and rewards on a map of the store from the point-of-view of the shopper.
David Ziegler (WebMD)
WebMD updated its app this week. Called Healthy Target, it gives users contextually relevant content by integrating biometric data from activity trackers and monitors. The app was released this past June and has already seen rapid uptake. David says, ”Once this data is inside our app, we are helping people create healthy habits and letting them know what this data means. A lot of apps are focused on fitness enthusiasts, but Healthy Target was designed specifically for people with chronic conditions.” Healthy Target hosts 150 unique habits, educational videos, and content in addition to sending out weekly reviews of progress and tips.