The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


2014 Technology Trends for Health and Fitness

Written by
Karyn Hughes, MEd
Posted in
Eat better

Thursday, Jan 23, 2014

How many health apps do you have? According to research2guidance© there are now close to 100,000 health apps, with the top 10 apps generating over 4 million free downloads every day.  But there is a new trend emerging—wearable technology.

Wearable smart garments will be hitting the stores this year with a projected market of $2.03 billion in sales by 2018. OMsignal© has created the world’s first bio-sensing apparel by embedding sensors into the apparel that will monitor your heart rate, breathing, and activity while the OMsignal© app displays your data in real-time on your mobile phone.  Eventually the sensors will be weaved into the fibers.  Major League Soccer teams already uses miCoach™ Elite smart sensor shirts to track certain vitals of each player. This same technology may help common, everyday people get engaged and stay engaged in health and wellness activities.

So what’s new in personal nutrition trends? How about the AIRO© wristband with a built-in spectrometerwhich uses different wavelengths of light to detect nutrients released into your bloodstream as they are broken down during and after your meals.  This goes beyond tracking just calories; it looks at the quality of your meals or food item. Similarly, TellSpec© is developing a handheld device that will scan and analyze the composition of any food you are about to eat or buy so you can know the real ingredients before deciding to eat or purchase the product.  Wonder what this will do for the accurate labeling of supplements which currently are unregulated?  Ingredient analysis would reveal if pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) or allergens are in the product or food before ingesting it.  This is very important to many health conscious people and those with allergies and other health concerns.

There is more.  How about virtual care? Scanadu has a Scanaflo™ device that works with your smart phone to do urine analysis, test for pregnancy, glucose levels, protein counts and more.  This information coupled with a Talk To Docs app brings the doctor to you via virtual house calls.  Google Helpouts™ is also a new marketplace for getting personalized help over live video chat.  All this is creating a place for medical advice, nutrition counseling, weight loss, even wellness advice for pets and probably much more.

Now you might ask, with all this personal information being transmitted over smart phones what are the security concerns?  Certainly this is a real concern and patient and client data needs to be secured.  One technology that is already addressing the issue of protected health information (PHI) is TrueVault©. TrueVault© is HIPAA-compliant storage for all protected health information that comes from apps.

All of the technology trends are definitely interesting and maybe even to some, mind-boggling.  But to those of us who are consumers and fitness professionals, we have to ask, how accurate are these new devices? How valid are they? We’ve all seen the claims of the wrist bracelets for better balance and the elevated/curved soul sneaker for a stronger, shapelier gluteus maximus, but they did not deliver!  Do you remember in previous blogs we passed along the research studies on these highly advertised products and we all found out that their claims were bogus?  So again, buyers beware.  Accuracy and validity is important.  Technology can be fantastic, but validity studies and consumer product report studies are needed to protect the public.  Stay alert, open minded, but cautious.