Three 'Invisible' Technologies that Monitor the Heart by
Billy Hurley, Digital Editorial Manager, Tech Briefs
LAS VEGAS, NV – When I saw a crowd forming at the entryway of the Sands Hall Convention Center on Wednesday, Day 3 of the Consumer Electronics ShowI started to guess what was causing the attendee traffic jam. Robot demo? VR headset? Car simulator? Celebrity sighting? Nope. Just…a guy resting on a bed.
A few feet from the entrance, we all watched a multi-sensor device tracking the man-on-a-mattress. The CES attendee’s respiratory rate displayed – somewhat hypnotically – on a nearby screen.
A demonstration of the Miku Baby Monitor.
The demonstration, from a company called Miku, was one of many digital health applications shown on the floor this week at CES. Companies like 3M, Aetna, BlueSmart Technology Corp., Humetrix, InBody, Living in Digital Times, Philips, and SleepScore Labs are using a variety of technologies to monitor everything from your mood to your physical state.
More from CES 2019
The World Bank is using artificial intelligence to forecast famine. Manufacturers, however, are also showcasing their products' ability to monitor conditions like heart rate and respiratory rate – unobtrusively. Many health-monitoring products featured at CES this week have small form factors – the kind you can place in a car seat, wear on your wrist, or not wear at all.
“We’re trying to make these types of technologies invisible to the consumer,” Frank Morese, CEO and Founder of the Reno, NV-based analytics company Olea Sensor Networks, told me this week.
Here are three digital health products that stood out to me for their invisibility. So in a sense, for not standing out much at all.
1) Miku Baby Monitor
The aforementioned resting man was, in fact, testing a device more designed for a sleeping baby. With a patent-pending AI and machine learning technology called SensorFusion, the Miku Baby Monitor combines a camera, a radar, and an acoustic sensor. A camera, a radar, and an acoustic sensor can fail individually. The fusion of the three technology components allows a more reliable picture of a baby’s health and offers the highest probability of detection, according to Miku co-owner Joe Aletta. And it’s cheaper to go all-in-one.
“Right now, especially if you have babies that are preemies or that have some kind of issues, parents will buy an acoustic sensor that does listening, they’ll buy a camera system, they’ll buy a wearable one, and before you know it, you spend $2,000,” said Aletta. The optical and wireless sensing track display a baby’s breathing and sleeping patterns – with no wires or wearables. The Miku Baby Monitor also tracks temperature and humidity levels to ensure the baby's environment is stable. Instant alerts can be sent via mobile device anywhere in the world, and all measurements are done locally on the device. Heart rate, however, is currently not implemented in the most recent version of the software – a feature the company hopes to add in 2019, said Aletta.