Pedro Nakazato Andrade’s thesis project Bones illustrates the vast, and relatively unexplored potential, of using wearable technology as an empowerment tool for patients to take control over their own health, well-being and recovery.
Bones is a wearable technology system that couples a “smart” orthopedic cast with an online community-based website. Embedded electromyographic (EMG) sensors, the cast monitors and records the muscle activity around the fracture.
The data then is wirelessly uploaded to an online website where the patient can track their recovery. The system actively engages the patient in his own recovery process by suggesting specific exercises to prevent muscle atrophy.
The data is available to doctors, physical therapists and, oddly, other Bones members.
Having just recovered myself from a recent foot fracture, I find the concept behind the Bones project promising if the system would be adopted by medical professionals to use as an educational and instructive tool to communicate with their patients.
Personally, I’m a little apprehensive about the idea of an algorithm suggesting exercises and providing recovery advice. I’m even more apprehensive about sharing my medical data (even if it’s only my recovery stats) with an online community. But what I do admire is the use of wearable technology as an educational tool that empowers individuals to take responsibility for their own health and recovery.