Chuck, It will be interesting to the cost for some of these devices. Disposable versus refurbishing always seems good to me. But unless the unit cost can really be reduced by greater production quantities, the problem becomes the yearly cost of this kind of device. Thanks for the article.
Yes, Al, disposability is important. Today's Holter monitors, for example, are not disposable and require refurbishing after every use. The refurbishing can be costly. So if electronics manfacturers can make low-cost systems that can be disposed of, and therefore don't require refurbishing, the uptake of the technology will be greater.
Mydesign, MIT has a research group called Little Devices. Their mission statement is:
"The Little Devices group at MIT develops empowerment technologies for health. We believe that innovation and design happens at the frontline of healthcare where providers and patients can invent everyday technologies to improve outcomes."
They employ the use of everyday products ranging from toys to items found in an ordinary home's junk box to develop low cost medical devices for third world countries. The technologies mentioned in this article could easily be integrated within Little Devices research to create enhanced medical tools. The uC's that have an analog front end like Analog Devices ADUC7601 precision analog microcontrollers are key to the development of low power, and efficient health monitoring wearable medical devices. Very interested article Charles! Below are links to MIT's Little Devices Group and Analog Devices ADUC 7601 precision analog microcontroller.
Charles, you are right. Now lots of developments are happening in medical electronics and many old manual equipments are becomes most soficated devices due to the advancement of technology. There is no doubt that within a couple of years, embedding self monitory and communicating chips in human body may become popular.
Nancy, I completely hear what you are saying, but I can sort of see both sides. On one hand I, too, think reuseable is the way to go to eliminate unnecessary waste, since there is already plenty of that. But I can also see how it would be nice to have fresh, clean patches or devices to use if it's something for the long term. At the same time, if it's meant to be used long-term, you're right, it should be made to last.
Since it’s medical, none of the wearable devices will be cheap. Innovation is apparently there, but can we seriously say it will not come at an arm&leg price? In the latest State of the Union speech (2/13/2013), President Obama essentially said he will plead with pharmaceutical companies to get medical prices down. I’m sure they will humor him.
Thanks for the explanation, Charles - I was envisioning a much more expensive product. It certainly makes sense with low price points. I also would prefer a "new" product rather than a "refurbished" one when it comes to medical equipment. Really nice to see these products being developed - it will really help folks stay active which will only increase the health benefit.
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