A healthier and more comfortable life: technology to the rescue!

A high-tech smartwatch? Wait… Here are five examples of advanced wearable technology that will make you fitter, healthier and feel better about yourself. Today in research and development, tomorrow on you.


Having a simple life is a big challenge. Fortunately, there are technologies to help you with this. Anyone can need help, and some devices are good enough to detect a problem you weren’t aware of. A cardiac arrhythmia, for example, is often only detected when you feel an acute problem or during a targeted medical examination. Some smartwatches can let you know about a possible problem sooner. This is a huge step forward because, like many other health issues, it’s best treated as soon as possible.


In the Star Trek series, all it takes is for a doctor to pass a box over your body to find out what’s wrong with you. Admittedly, this tricorder does not exist, but start-ups take care of it. And many things are already possible. The intention is never to replace a physician. But existing devices, from blood pressure monitors to sensors that detect a fall, can be of great help.


Exercise is the key to a healthier life. But, in practice, it is more difficult to take action. Your days are so busy that you forget to get up from your chair. And in your spare time, there are so many things to do that you don’t have time. How to tackle this problem? This is a challenge taken up by designers of activity trackers and sports watches. Many watches know through sensors that you’ve been sitting for a while. After an hour, you are encouraged to stand up. More advanced models work in conjunction with apps to provide you with a complete workout plan. How far you want to go is up to you, and the smallest changes will have a positive effect.


Healthy living is impossible without a good night’s sleep. What does that mean ? First, that you get enough sleep. Young children need more sleep than adults, and parents usually need more than they actually do. You can determine the number of hours of sleep yourself. But a good night’s sleep is about more than just staying in bed. Throughout the night, your body goes through several cycles. Each consists of phases: sleep, light sleep, deep sleep and the REM phase. Your partner knows this last moment as when your eyelids are twitching and you are mumbling.


A good night’s sleep means that you go through this cycle three to five times a night, and that, among other things, your deep sleep phases are not disturbed. This is when your body and brain recharge. Some smartwatches can help you know if your sleep is going as it should. They give you insight into your sleep cycles.


Sensors that really focus on sleep analysis are even more accurate. At Withings, for example, you will find a sleep analyzer, a device that disguises itself as a pillow. It mainly monitors your breathing and can warn you of the onset of apnea. These are unpleasant for your partner (even irritating), but it is also very disturbing for your deep sleep.


Recording heartbeats has become simple. Your wrist is covered and a sensor can ‘detect’ the beats via the movements of your blood vessels. This method is not as accurate as medical sensors, but it is improving. However, measuring your heart rate is not enough to detect a problem. For this you need an electrocardiogram. In the hospital, that means taking off your shirt and attaching a series of sensors with, in some cases, a bike test.


You see: it’s not something you do easily. It’s a good thing that basic ECGs can be done via a smartwatch. Apple was the first to offer it, but now there are other brands. The technology is there, but the functionality is too important to market unchecked. It must be approved by the competent health/scientific authorities and bodies (such as the FDA in the United States). After all, an ECG malfunction could give a patient a false sense of security. Getting that approval takes a while, but more and more products are getting it.


We have talked a lot about air quality. When it’s bad, it’s a problem. This is often the quality of the outside air. Are you safe inside? It is not safe, because in many houses the air is not better. The level of humidity, noise and temperature are all elements that influence your well-being. Yet many are unsure if these settings are a problem. A device like the Netatmo Healthy Home Coach contains sensors that measure different air quality parameters. Tackling the problem of air is what we do with an air purifier.

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