A round-up of technologies shaping the healthcare space

1. Red pill, blue pill, digital pill…

It sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, but ingestible pill sensors are here and being touted for treating a wide range of conditions, as well as health and wellness monitoring. These pills contain sensors that tell caregivers when and if you’ve taken medication – ideal for people with cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and also those with mental health issues. While several companies are developing products and technologies, Abilify MyCite is the first digital pill to receive FDA approval: When a person ingests a dose, sensors in the pill activate and send a message to a wearable patch, which communicates to a mobile app, enabling healthcare professionals and family members to track information and support medication adherence.

2. Talk to me in a language I can understand

A new tool is designed to make digital health information more accessible to Canadians by instantly transforming online text to a person’s reading level. “This has the potential to impact millions of older Canadians, revolutionize how they interact with information online and improve decision-making shared between patients, caregivers and healthcare providers,” says project lead Dr. Cosmin Munteanu, an assistant professor at the Institute for Communication, Culture, Information and Technology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Supported by AGE-WELL, the browser plug-in is a joint effort of the Technologies for Aging Gracefully lab at the University of Toronto and Heuristext Inc. The initial prototype uses one accessible reading level, but with the help of partner Skritswap, additional elements are in the works so that users can control readability. When this product comes to market it will empower older Canadians – 88 percent of whom have low health literacy and struggle to understand online health information – by translating often-complex medical information into lay terms.

3. Capturing and connecting with GreyMatters

GreyMatters is a revolutionary app that aims to change the quality of life and improve connections between people living with dementia and their caregivers. The customizable app enables users to load and arrange significant music, photos and stories specific to someone’s life and arrange these memories in a user-friendly storybook format. In addition, the user can tap into preloaded pop-culture content, such as top songs or film clips, which are relevant to the person living with dementia. Founder and CEO Jennifer Rozbruch came up with the idea after watching her mom use favourites stories, photos and music to connect with her grandmother, who lived with vascular dementia. Rozbruch is updating the app with a family-sharing feature so that people can add content to timelines and stories, even if they are living far away.

4. Watch what you say; Kohler Numi toilet isn’t just for the 1%

At first glance, Kohler’s Numi voice-activated toilet seems like a new toy for the person who has everything (it will retail for more than $10,000), but dig a little deeper and there are tangible wellness benefits. For instance, its integrated bidet wand offers a convenient and independent hygiene option for people with limited range of movement. Of course, the promised mood lighting, foot warmer, music playback and deodorizer are nice touches, too.

5. Turn back time

How old are you on the inside? Find out with iHeart, a tool to help people measure internal age and aortic stiffness, an indicator of overall health. The wearable device attaches to your fingertip to record arterial pulsations and feeds data to an app that calculates your internal age. You can use the health and wellness educational tool to monitor your body and adopt behaviours to lower your internal age, thereby reducing risk of disease.

Originally published in Issue 01 of YouAreUNLTD Magazine.