What’s missing? Some sense of excitement. It may be your Editor’s back-to-work deluge after the holiday, but it’s hard not to have a sense of Déjà Vu All Over Again when reading the reporting from CES Las Vegas. So much of it seems lukewarm, a variant of what felt exciting, new, and transformative Back When. And so little of it seems to break through to a wider market. Let’s pick through and see what a Gimlet Eye might.
AARP’s Innovation Labs had yet another showcase of technologies from largely small companies from its own Hatchery and other accelerators with which it works. This year it highlighted VR developer partnerships with Rendever, which creates experiences for LTC residents, and VRHealth’s physical therapy at home. SanaHealth has a pulsed light/sound pain reduction device and the VoiceItt speech recognition device which translates the speech of the severely impaired into intelligible language.
Robots continue to seek a market, albeit tinier and we confess, occasionally more amusing.
- Samsung’s Ballie robot, about the size of an orange, will roll through your home minding your pets, monitoring your safety, and interfacing with your smart devices and apps to make absolutely sure you get enough exercise and track your fitness. That is, if you don’t step on it, mistake it for a tennis ball, or your dog doesn’t mistake it for a chew toy.
- The Charmin Rollbot will deliver a pre-loaded roll when you most need it, navigating through your home, although no capability of climbing stairs in its current concept.
- The Misty II robot is yet again one of those tabletop robots which are developer toys. This one propels itself and has a camera, a microphone and 3D sensors, and could be repurposed for fall detection, companionship, or to bring you a hot towel.
- The Lovot is a Japanese robot at its second CES which moves around, responds, is red and quite cuddly-looking (except for that weird thing on the top of its head). This ‘happiness robot’ will set you back over ¥299,000 ($2,700) when it finally hits the market.
Babies need both monitoring and changing, and combining the two may actually happen. P&G’s Pampers and Verily Life Sciences brought to CES the Lumi smart diaper with a connected HD video monitor plus an activity sensor in the diaper. It will detect baby’s sleep, feeding and diapering patterns. (But no changing by the Charmin Rollbot)
Voice assistants are getting more ubiquitous to find a way into the home. The war between Amazon Alexa (and siblings) and Google Assistant continues with new applications in cars (a/k/a computers on four wheels) to appliances and a host of third-party devices like garage door openers. A lot of this is ‘sneaky tech’ to get past the hard core of people who have already realized that both always-on Alexa and Assistant collect a lot of behavioral data which one does not necessarily want collected, and that many of these connected devices like Nest have been hijacked through compromised passwords.
More in Fierce Healthcare 7 Jan, 9 Jan; Mobihealthnews
CES kicked off today in Las Vegas (7 Jan), taking over the town in multiple locations, and will be making news through Friday 10 January. Like the circus, there are three health tech ‘rings’ at CES this year: Accessibility, Digital Health (Digital Health Summit), and Fitness and Wearables.
- Digital Health Summit over the two days of its conference has shifted focus from the gadgets and wearables of their past conferences to prevention, health data, voice tech, machine learning, AI, bioelectronics (low current devices for treatment), behavioral health, and passive monitoring. There’s also a soupçon of star power with Katie Couric and Dr. Mehmet Oz, and some Grizzled Pioneer speakers and moderators such as Laurie Orlov, Chris Otto, Sean Slovenski, and Jane Sarasohn-Kahn. The Digital Health Summit is itself a Grizzled Pioneer as it goes back at CES to 2013–and my, how the players have changed. (Whatever happened to Sonny Vu?)
- The Wearables Tech Summit is about the form and function of wearables, plus VR, AR (augmented reality), and of course Peleton.
- Accessibility is sadly a mismatch (mish-mash?) of home networks, 5G, IoT, and a pitch competition.
What’s big? 5G, AI anything, and autonomous vehicles. What’s faded in the stretch? Robots.
Back to health tech…here’s some highlights:
- Philips has several new or tweaked products at CES this year
- A smart version of the Sonicare toothbrush that collects and shares real-time toothbrushing data. The BrushSmart program works with Delta Dental of California to analyze the data for insights into oral care. Users get benefits such as exclusive dental care offers, the Philips Sonicare ExpertClean toothbrush and free brush heads when they brush regularly.
- The Avent mother and childcare app adds a new feature called Baby+ to track baby’s growth and receive ongoing advice specific to each stage of their baby’s development.
- The SmartSleep system adds the SmartSleep Deep Sleep Headband 2 to actively improve deep sleep with features such as Fall Asleep Sounds, SmartAlarm, and the SleepMapper app. Release
- OMRON is adding to its heart monitoring services with HeartGuide, the first wearable blood pressure monitor, and Complete, the first wearable that combines a blood pressure monitor and EKG. The company is also launching this summer a heart health coaching and incentive app, OMRON Connect 2.0, that states it changes behavior, combining its two existing apps HeartAdvisor and OMRON Connect. Release
- Withings’ newest is the ScanWatch which will be able to take an ECG and monitor for sleep apnea. The ECG has three leads on the watch on the side of the watch’s bezel and an SpO2 sensor to monitor apneic episodes and oxygen saturation. FDA and CE approval are pending, and when released later this year will cost $249 to $299 depending on size. ZDNet
- ZDNet and TechRepublic have a running special feature on CES’ big trends for business. The annoyance factor you’ll have to endure is the running CBS commercials for various programs.
- Mobihealthnews rounds up interesting devices and software such as the Nanit baby sleeping bag that monitors an infant’s breathing, Reliefband’s low current anti-nausea band, Samsung’s Ballie rolling robot plus collaborations with Kaiser Permanente (cardiac rehab) and IrisVision (low vision/macular degeneration assistance), and more.
- John Lynn, another Grizzled Pioneer, in Healthcare IT Today typically diverts from the mainstream coverage in spotlighting smaller companies in atypical areas. Examples are France’s Adok smart projector with the potential to be used collaboratively in practice offices, new connected apps for Neofect’s smart gloves for arm/hand rehab, two air filters to monitor both inside and outside air quality (as a social determinant of health!), Xenoma’s wired pajamas for fall detection, the Mateo bath mat which can measure weight and body mass, and a smart diaper from Smardii.
More to come in the next days!