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Consumer Health-Tracking Tech to Grow Up in 2016

While the first generation of health-tracking devices could be compared to toys with more flash than substance, things are beginning to change. Expect to start seeing more sophisticated health trackers this year, including some with FDA clearance.

Brian Buntz

Arrow  backOmron blood pressure tracker

While most of the current fitness trackers on the market are little more than glorified pedometers, expect that to gradually start changing. There is clearly a demand for trackers with medical-grade metrics, as evidenced by a recent lawsuit against Fitbit that accuses the company of lying about the accuracy of its pulse-monitoring technology. 

Some of the technology at CES may provide an indication of where things are headed. Consider for instance Omron's Project Zero, an inflatable blood-pressure watch in the form factor of a smartwatch that promises accurate readings. Omron is working to obtain FDA clearance for the device and expects to hit the market by the end of the year at a price point of roughly $200. 

Meanwhile, there are a growing number of companies that are putting a healthcare-related spin on the burgeoning smart home, which imbues everything from door locks to thermostats to ceiling fans with wireless technology designed to make the home more efficient and convenient. 

In the future, it is likely that developers of such technologies start catering to the elder demographic. Already, there is the example of Lively Wearable, which makes an activity wristband that can detect falls and alert authorities of emergencies. 

Learn more about cutting-edge medical devices at MD&M West, February 9-11 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. 

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