Five years ago if someone had told you your phone or watch would be the most important personal medical device you own, you might have looked at them like they were crazy. But thanks to new technologies and large investments from companies such as Google, Apple, Samsung, IBM, and Intel, the line between medical and consumer technology is being erased.
Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones have been forefront competitors as the go-to mobile platforms for mobile medical apps and digital health devices. Chipmaker Intel recently jumped onto the bandwagon when it acquired smartwatch maker Basis Science. And Google has repeatedly made efforts to get into the medical space, first with its failed Google Health platform and now with secret projects like Calico, devoted to biotech research. While casual users of the company’s Google Glass augmented reality technology have been dubbed “Glassholes,” doctors, manufacturers, and researchers are hailing the product’s potential for hands-free data delivery, assisted diagnosis, and even augmented surgery. With Google Glass now fully available to consumers (for $1500) as well as a freely available API for developers looking to program their own Glass apps, it's possible that industry will soon see Google Glass as a new favorite mHealth platform.
While device companies continue to make large strides, it will likely be consumer companies that finally put medtech into the palm of everyone's hand.
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|Meet more agents of change in medtech at the MD&M East tradeshow and conference in New York City June 9–12, 2014.|
[image courtesy of GOOGLE]