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IOT & HMI FEATURE


The era of digital health


Coronavirus pandemic, and the application of these technologies should provide the means to better deal with other infectious diseases in the future.


REMOTE CONSULTATIONS As mentioned earlier, many of the current uses of IoT in healthcare provide doctors with more real-time information about their patients, often giving a more comprehensive picture of that patient’s health than a standard face-to-face appointment would. Remote consultations by phone or


video chat are already being used by many medical practices to keep treating patients whilst keeping the risk of infection down. Using the data collected by wearables and other IoT devices, a significantly lower number of patients will need to be seen in person, whilst still getting the medical care they need.


The Internet of Things (IoT) is taking the healthcare sector by storm bringing revolutionary new applications that are transforming the way we interface with devices such as health monitoring and patient care, as Easby Electronics discusses


P


rimarily, IoT devices in healthcare are being used for reporting and


monitoring purposes, allowing a swift transfer of information from the patient to healthcare professionals due to the interconnectivity of IoT wearables and mobile devices. IoT devices also allow for much more information to be collected about patient health, improving both treatment and medical research. Many of the latest developments in


IoT technology are coming from the medical sector. There is the potential for much more, but here are some of the ways IoT is being used in healthcare:


ELECTRONIC TATTOOS Electronic tattoos are one of the wearable devices that can be used to monitor vitals and other functions within the human body. Made from a thin rubber patch containing a circuit of flexible electronic components, these wearables have already been adopted into the sporting world as they can measure lactate levels and pH values to monitor muscle fatigue and hydration in athletes.


COMPUTER VISION TECHNOLOGY Computer vision technology has been used for many years in the development of drones, and now this technology is


being applied to help those with sight problems. This technology, along with an AI system and IoT connectivity, can be used to help the visually impaired navigate areas safely, get information about their surroundings, read signs and many other actions that they are not currently able to do unassisted.


HEARABLES Hearing aids are one of the oldest examples of a wearable healthcare device, but the IoT can take hearing technology much further by cancelling out unwanted background noise, amplifying the volume of individual voices, and even translating the words of those speaking in another language.


SMART PILLS Smart pills contain small sensors that can monitor the medication in a patient’s system and transmit this data to a wearable IoT device, which can then be transferred to a mobile device. These pills can be used to track symptoms of an illness and give an early warning of diseases such as diabetes.


HOW CAN IOT BE USED TO TACKLE THE COVID-19 CRISIS? The use of IoT in healthcare also has an important role to play in tackling the


/ ELECTRONICS


TRACKING One of the ways the IoT can help tackle Coronavirus is through tracking. Whilst this application is not strictly medical, tracking those who may have been exposed to the virus can help to prevent further spread of the disease. Smart detection such as video


surveillance, facial recognition, and location tracking on mobile phones (with permission) can be used to identify places where an infected person may have spread the disease to others.


ROBOTICS The use of drones has also increased during the pandemic, being used for contact-free delivery and, in China, Spain and the US, to disinfect streets and enforce quarantine procedures by dispersing crowds and broadcasting messages over loudspeakers. Robots are being used in hospitals to


deliver resources and disinfect hallways with UV light, and it was also recently announced that robots will be used in UK care homes to help reduce loneliness, a problem that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. The IoT is rapidly changing the world


we live in, and the healthcare sector is where some of the most groundbreaking advancements in the technology are, with many more sure to follow. Whilst COVID-19 is putting


unprecedented stress on all medical resources, the use of IoT devices may help to protect many lives not just against this pandemic, but future infectious diseases as well.


Easby Electronics www.easby.co.uk


ELECTRONICS | OCTOBER 2020 27


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