The Next Frontier of Wearable Technology

We’ve become quite familiar with wearable tech in the past few years. We have devices that tell us how many steps we take, what our heart rate is, or even how to manage our blood pressure; but this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the convergence of technology and health care.

The next big wave of innovation is now coming in the form of neurotechnology, wearable devices that interact specifically with your brain. On a recent edition of FS Insider, Senior Editor Cris Sheridan spoke to Bill Studebaker, president and CIO of ROBO Global on the startups, devices and impacts of technology on healthcare and wellness.

CB Insights recently noted 21 different startups developing products that can do everything from aid deep sleep, treat certain neurological disorders or even allow users to control software and devices with their own thoughts. One company called Synchronaims to assist those who are paralyzed with a safe way to achieve “direct brain control of mobility assisted devices,” as they show in this fascinating video.

Large venture capital firms, tech billionaires and even DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) are providing much of the funding behind the burgeoning field of brain-machine interfaces.

Studebaker explained thus far, robots and AI have augmented physical human capabilities. The next evolution, however, “is in cognition and machines will no longer be limited to mimicking human physical activities but also aid in cognitive actions like decision making.” This has the potential to revolutionize the health care field—not in replacing doctors, but in aiding them in their already heavy workloads to treat more patients with better outcomes, he says.

AI applications equipped with imaging and diagnosing techniques are able to spot problems with a simple scan. Studebaker added that this would allow for more individualized treatments as the medical world “starts to understand that our biological systems are very different.” Two people who share the same chronic illness should not necessarily be treated in the same way, Studebaker pointed out. Factors such as our biological and genetic makeups are beginning to play a more important role in treatments, an area where AI could greatly assist doctors.

Studebaker believes “AI is the most important tool humans have to solve the world’s biggest problems.” With Americans spending enormous amounts of money on healthcare every year, there is also a major incentive for tech companies to move into this space, leverage new technologies and lower costs for everyone.

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Justine Hall

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