Walter De Brouwer

ceo SCANADU, Scanadu


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Make a 'periodic table' of gadgets that will quantify our health and that still need to be invented: HIT, the Health Internet of Things

Every thing in our bathroom will soon have a display and a WUSB or Bluetooth connection because all of these displays will want to connect, thereby producing a real-time, ever-changing picture of our ambient health.
The time seems right to produce a ‘periodic table’ of all the gadgets still to be invented. Let me suggest the first 20.

1. Teeth. Toothbrush that measure fluoride and remembers the cavities, discoloration and notifies us of bad breath
2. Eyes. Glasses that monitor our eyesight and advise correction
3. Hair. Comb that screens the follicles, report on dandruff density, scan for fungus or lice, and count the hairs (hair loss)
4. Bottom. Toilets that test excrements both liquid and solid. Feces graded following the Bristol Stool scale.
5. Chest. Airports scanners that broadcast their results to our phone
6. Body. Clothes that are smart because the fibers compute
7. Underbelly. A new field of underwearables that integrate markers for early detection of cancers or other anomalies
8. Forearms. Shirts that screen the microbiome on your forearms (40x more than our own cells)
9. Neck. Collars that chemically analyse our sweat
10. Ear. Earphones that measure our hearing and that analyze our emotional level while we are listening ('total communication is bidirectional)
11. Heart. Pacemaker and stent that broadcast data to our cardiologist plus ECG (CORVENTIS)
12. Nose. Tissues that examine snot and mucus when we blow our nose
13. Chin. Razors that plot the surface of the skin looking for acne
14. Lips. Balm that scans for cold sores.
15. Tongue. Tongue scrapers that screen salivary microbes
16. Back. Chairs that plot our posture and broadcast data for our spine
17. Nails. Nail cutters that determine the quality of our nails and count the ridges
18. Feet. Step counter (FITBIT)
19. Back arm. Blood pressure measurement (IHEALTH99)
20. Pulse. Heart rate (GARMIN)
21. Brain. Electrical activity that conveys brain waves

  • Feb 28 2011: I personally find the internet of things a bit sickening. Why should we have "chairs that plot our posture and broadcast data for our spine", when people don't have access to basic healthcare? Why can't we just try and notice our posture problems *ourselves*, and getting others (e.g. friends and family) to help us with that?
  • Feb 28 2011: I like those that aren't diagnostic. Lots has to go wrong before we get sick, let's look at how healthy we are. Before we get cancer we have low immunity, poor antioxidant defence, and subclinical inflammation. Here are some suggestions.
    1. An elaboration on the excellent toothbrush idea - salivary hormones are a good indication of active hormone levels - better than blood which contains bound inactive molecules.
    3. Hair is a good tissue to test for chemical contamination especially heavy metals.
    4. Digestive health markers include undigested proteins and carbohydrates and unabsorbed fatty acids. An adequate fibre diet will release short chain fatty acids (also indicates adequate good anaerobic commensal flora).
    9. Sweat is similar to saliva.
    11. Heart rate monitor that sends data to the cloud with analysis over time of heart rate variability, especially during sleep. Apnoeaics are hugely undiagnosed. A single unit can assess blood oxygen saturation and heart rate and collate data.
    16. A hat/shirt could do the same, sense slumping or identify a postural problem. Similarly shoes that analyse gait and weight.
    22. A watch that analyses tremor and skin conductivity as markers of stress or fatigue.
    Urine contains huge amounts of data, especially useful to collect multiple readings throughout the day. Diurnal hormone variations are particularly important. Single blood samples taken by pathology collection are notoriously unreliable.
    I think we will get to the point where we have several devices that take many recording throughout the day and collates the data to give a functional indication of health status.
    I think a watch could be a multi device reading gadget assessing many important parameters including estimating blood pressure, or even taking reading at set periods. And the high tech toilet. My top two gadgets.
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    Feb 27 2011: Are you suggesting a definitive listing of miscellaneous and everyday tools which diagnose while they perform their primary function?
    I think this is a great idea.
    If I might suggest focusing on those which touch upon these most essential functions to start with : breathing, eating, sleeping, internal stasis, reproduction, elimination. They are the foundation of our survival as a species.
    I believe the proposed improvements will lead to tools which prevent many problems, not just manage them.
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    Feb 15 2011: Most of them are purely ready in terms of capabilities of science. Lets find a killer app and bring investment.