BY LEYL MASTER BLACK
2014 has been a huge year for health tech. According to digital health incubator StartUp Health, digital health funding in the first three quarters of 2014 has already surpassed $5 billion, close to double what was invested in all of 2013 ($2.8 billion).
“Digital health funding for the year is on track to double last year’s total,” said Unity Stoakes, co-founder and president of StartUp Health. “Some trends we’re watching include a growing corporate interest in digital health, more global cross-pollination of ideas, as well as increasing health consumerism as people move into the driver’s seat when it comes to their care.”
With this kind of capital pouring into the market, the health tech space should be exciting to watch in the coming years, but here’s a sneak peek at what’s coming in 2015.
1. Wearables for the ear
Tired of clip-on trackers and bracelets? Your next wearable device just might be hooked around your ear.
“Due to the proximity to the temporal artery,
devices worn on the ear can conduct completely unobtrusive, passive monitoring
devices worn on the ear can conduct completely unobtrusive, passive monitoring and offer far more precise measurements,” says Dr. Vahram Mouradian, founder and CTO of Sensogram Technologies. “Moreover, they can deliver a wealth of wellness information, including real time blood pressure, respiration rate and oxygen saturation, in addition to the typical readings of heart rate or steps taken.”
We’ve already seen a few of companies introduce ear buds with basic health monitoring, such as IriverOn and FreeWavz. Watch for increasing sophistication in ear-based devices over the coming year.
For example, Sensogram’s SensoTRACK — slated for general availability in March 2015 — is an elegantly designed device that fits snugly on your ear, where it measures heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and respiration rate. It also counts steps and calories burned, while sensing your speed, activity level, geolocation, altitude, body posture and pace.
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