We have all heard the many stories about wearable technology: the multi-billion dollar market trend; the reports illustrating limited usability; the expanded use-value in clinical settings; and the importance of their validation and interoperability.
With all this noise, nuviun finds it critical to record and track the wearable tech market as it evolves. Our research combed more than 300 different companies around the world. We assessed those that we feel are leading the way in innovation and that will have a sustainable affect on our health and lives. From this we established a scoring system that evaluates the wearable device according to the solutions it provides.
Source: nuviun's Data Journalism Unit
Our Hot Five Problem Solvers
Who is leading in trying to solve the biggest problems? We found that some companies provide novel solutions while others are trying to target those people most in need. Below are our picks for nuviun’s 2015 “Hot Five Problem Solvers.”
1: Diabetes: Smart Diapers
According to the WHO, 10% of the world’s adult population has diabetes. Sadly, it’s a growing problem for some of our youngest population. Type 1 diabetes is most common in children or young adults. Smart Diapers can detect Type 1 diabetes for early intervention and treatement. The data Smart Diapers track can also detect urinary tract infection, prolonged dehydration or signs that the child is developing kidney problems.
The product is disposable, and has already proven successful. On the Indiegogo campaign page, it mentions that for children who have already been diagnosed with a chronic kidney condition, Smart Diapers could make the practice of squeezing diapers’ urine remains onto a urine analysis strip to track results obsolete.
Description: Smart Diapers have a QR patch on the front that, when scanned daily and used in conjunction with the manufacturer’s mobile app, can help monitor the child’s health.Source: Smart Diapers Indiegogo Campaign
2: Air Pollution: Oxie
It is estimated that there are 7 million annual deaths attributed to air pollution. The WHO declared the problem as the greatest environmental threat to human health, with children being particularly at risk due to the immaturity of their respiratory organ systems.
Oxie is the first wearable device to effectively purify air without masking one’s face. It is a precious, neck-worn device, which is small enough to fit under your collar; affording you the benefits of purified air without sacrificing style or comfort. The startup has just accepted an offer to join the Kansas City Mobile Health TechStars program. nuviun interviewed CEO of Oxie, Sarah Tulin.
3: Cardiovascular Disease: ZIO XT PATCH
According to the WHO, cardiovascular disease cause 3 in 10 deaths globally. Significantly, 8 out of 10 cases could be prevented. A device called Zio XT Patch has a mission to contribute to this change.
According to its Vandrico profile, the wearable patch can continuously measure heart rate in a discreet and wireless manner and it can record the wearer’s heartbeat during sleeping time as well and other day-to-day activities for up to 14 days. Data from the measurement is sent to the iRhythm clinical app that uses algorithms to analyze the results.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year, a number that is expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by 2030. (Source: Heart.org)
On the US television show “The Doctors”, a woman who has had an arrhythmia since she was 12 years old hasn’t been able to find relief for her symptoms. By cardiologist John Kennedy, she is given a new device (the Zio XT Patch) that tracks the heartbeat and helps her to learn about her treatment options.
4: Pregnancy and children’s health: Ritmo
The WHO reports that about 800 women die due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth every day. A new wearable device by Nuvo Group called Ritmo allows mothers to monitor their developing baby's heartbeat and movements, 24/7.
Founder and CEO of Nuvo Group, Oren Oz, presented the pregnancy monitoring belt at the Wearable Technology Show 2015 in London. In an interview with the New Scientist, Oz said that the device records everything possible from the surface of the abdomen about the pregnancy. The goal is to reduce the risk of complications as much as possible.
The founder told the magazine that he hopes the data from the belt will help researchers gain new insights about pregnancy. With 13 sensors, the data is valuable and could really make a difference in the health of both mother and child. According to the interview, the company also plans to create a medical version with more sensors and increased accuracy. Doctors could then use this to monitor patients remotely and pick up any complications early.
Another company in this category that stood out is DuoFertility. A wearable device that helps with fertility. According to the product’s Vandrico profile, DuoFertility maximizes the chances of pregnancy naturally by measuring the body’s basal temperature, which shifts during ovulation.
The parent company, Cambridge Temperature Concepts, hopes to revolutionize fertility treatment around the world by offering women access to all the information they need to make the most of their natural chances. In some cases DuoFertility promises to even be able to help to cut down the need for expensive IVF treatment.
5: Medication Adherence: Proteus Health
What if patients don’t take their pills? In a scientific article by the New England Journal of Medicine, it says, “… it is clear that the full benefits of the many effective medications that are available will be achieved only if patients follow prescribed treatment regimes reasonably closely.”
According to the same paper, half of all patients do not take their medications as prescribed. But what if you could not only track whether patients took their pills, but the continuous impact on the patient's physiologic response to it?
Proteus Health is said to have pioneered the integration of the intake of medicine with ingestible sensors, wearable devices and mobile and cloud computing. The core technology is the feedback system. It allows patients to understand first-hand their personal health choices and even their physiologic response. The patch, which is body-worn and disposable, allows the wearer to monitor their body’s physiologic responses and behaviors. According to Proteus’ website, the patch receives information from the ingestible sensor, detects heart rate, activity, and rest, and sends information to a mobile device.
Proteus Health is one of the companies that leads in raising external investor funding in digital health, making it a hot contender for an IPO. Data source: Crunchbase.com
But this clever wearable technology body ecosystem can also be valuable for pharmaceutical research. Highly engaged patients that consistently take prescribed medications as directed are the cornerstone of a successful clinical trial, it says in Proteus’ recent press release about its new partnership with Oracle. Oracle and Proteus will integrate the digital health feedback system with Oracle Health Sciences InForm Medication Adherence Insights Cloud Service to help increase a clinical trial’s accuracy level.
An article by the Financial Times judges Proteus' solution as “…an example of how web-enabled sensors can help health professionals to track the effectiveness of care at every stage, from research to aftercare”. Proteus’ product has already received the CE mark in Europe and FDA market clearance in the US for its wearable and ingestible sensor devices. It is now ready to roll. With $291.5 million in investor funding, the company has the potential and also the capital to impact healthcare.
Uniqueness and Benefits Rating
One of the leading companies that keeps track of wearable technology solutions in the market is Vandrico. We worked together with Vandrico, an unbiased 3rd party verifier and specialized R&D firm that investigates new technology to help businesses identify the true players on the map. We interviewed founder and CEO Gonzalo Tudela on the wearable discussion and where he sees it going.
With data from Vandrico on the devices, we were able map how unique the devices are and how many benefits they offer. Bayan Bennett is Lead Engineer & Researcher at Vandrico. He sent us the scoring data and says:
This score [the benefits score] is based on the features of the device as well as the benefits that the device provides. The higher the score the better. The "Uniqueness Score" is generated by comparing all device features against all other devices. The lower the score, the more unique.
Jawbone up 24 is the least unique solution in Vandrico’s ranking for wearable health product uniqueness. 18 products are leading in Vandrico's product uniqueness scoring.
The Atlas Fitness Tracker is currently leading in Vandrico’s ranking for the category “wearable health product benefits”.
Pulling both Vandrico’s benefits and uniqueness scoring into an interactive scatterplot, you can see the solutions that stand out (hover over the bubbles on your desktop browser to see the full description of the wearable health solution).