Post CES reflection on role of technology and Alzheimer's.
Boston, mid-May, 2016
Another day, another misleading article. Call me amazed reading today's NY Times article on Oregon Health and Science University research (funded by Intel) about fall prevention promoting their work. The implication: there are no sensor-based monitoring products already in the market. Interviewees observed that a research project was beginning to make progress in this area, noting motion sensing and pattern detection to help alert to changes in walking patterns (for example, frequency of bathroom visits) and that this research was helping the cause of preventing falls among seniors. The article quotes Intel's Eric Dishman: “The independent-living industry could have a huge payoff in innovation, jobs and competitiveness,” said Eric Dishman, an Intel research fellow and director of strategy for the company’s digital health group."
And there's more. "But now, researchers are beginning to apply the digital tools of low-cost wireless sensors in carpets, clothing and rooms to monitor an older person’s walking and activity. The continuous measurement and greater precision afforded by simple computing devices, researchers say, promise to deliver new insights on risk factors and tailored prevention measures." Ironically, this is the very same NY Times that reported several months ago on products like Healthsense's eNeighbor -- that were already in the market.
Stop researching folks -- we're there -- just promote current companies. I am really tired of the disconnect between research (which generates no product) and products which struggle to build name recognition and revenue -- depriving those who could benefit from them NOW from knowing they exist.
Real firms are in the market today. Five companies now (GE QuietCare, GrandCare, Healthsense, WellAWARE and Xanboo are revenue-generating products that track motion (or absence of motion) with wall-mounted sensors, a base station and transmission to a recipient of the resulting information and patterns. And yes, they are used in independent living (SelfHelp in Queens, NewCourtland in Philadelphia, to name a few).
More options for fall detection and prevention. Meanwhile, for fall detection, Halo Monitoring offers a wearable fall detection device (belt clip or chest strap) that transmits information to a base station, enabling information to be used to track pattern changes. And plenty of innovation remains ahead of us. Up next will be more technologies in this market that integrate video, social connections, and health diagnostic devices -- enabling assistance for more mobile and out-and-about seniors.
Today is so yesterday. Independent living organizations need more guidance on how useful these technologies can be. Intel should apply research dollars to project (including stimulus) grants that deploy actual products in more of them as well as private homes, boosting awareness and accelerating market adoption. With market adoption, will come product improvement. Come on Intel -- I believe your home page tag line "Today is so yesterday". As another famous line goes, a rising tide lifts all boats -- Intel, make the tide rise.