Welcome to the consumerization of health, where the everyday patient can find possible diagnoses, learn the human anatomy, monitor sleep, and converse with physicians, sometimes over high-definition videoconference.
New health-oriented gadgets and mobile apps attack Consumer Electronics Show attendees every year like a virus, and this year is no exception, starting with Zensorium's Tinke, a device that monitors pulse, respiration, and blood oxygen levels.
There's nothing particularly new here: any Walgreens or CVS sells inexpensive pulse oximeters for about $25. Tinke happens to make one with a 30-pin iPhone connector which manages the signal processing from device to phone. It's also super thin, about three inches square, and includes two sensing windows to take its measurements from a user's thumb--two LEDs with different wavelengths react to blood volume changes.
[ What's new at CES? Check out CES 2012 Preview: 16 Hot Gadgets. ]
The whole process takes about a minute. The iPhone app, which is about as simple as they come, spits out a composite score called a Vita Index; it also displays pulse, respiration, and blood oxygen measurements--all of this in a single screen, but the app does trend the data. It doesn't seem to provide a running baseline or a comparison to a norm.
The information is also shareable via the Tinke social network. Although it's probably not wise to share such information on a public social network, it would be interesting to share the data easily and quickly with a physician, say in the case of someone with a heart condition.
Zensorium is based in Singapore, and while Tinke is a fun and moderately affordable product ($100), it still seems a bit bare bones. Maybe it's just that simple, but outside of requiring a user's age, there's little other context: post meal? post workout? post coitus?
The product is still about six months away, and company representatives said an Android version will come later this year.
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