(The ECONOMIST) – Health- and life-insurance companies seem to think wearable devices can actually make users healthier. They are increasingly underwriting the cost of a range of wearables, including devices from Fitbit, Garmin and Polar.
Aetna and UnitedHealthcare, two big American health insurers, recently created a plan that subsidised the cost of Apple’s pricey watch. Customers of other insurers willing to upload their movement data can obtain a discount on health or life insurance. The more active they are, the greater the financial reward.
Yang Zheng, the boss of Ping An Health Insurance in Shanghai, says that 1.5m customers are already uploading activity data every day. But are these efforts any more than a gimmick? Wearables have long been a bit of a joke, with some complaining that their “time to drawer”—the time it takes for people to lose interest and abandon them—can be measured in months.
(Bill Schweber / EENews) – Researchers developed a prototype energy-harvesting transducer for medical implants, such as pacemakers, using normal motion of the heart-related blood vessels to generate critical power.
Energy harvesting from the human body (approximately 100W of consumption at rest) in various forms appears to be a near-perfect power source fit for implanted medical devices, but practical issues have impeded its adoption as a solution.
Funded by a five-year NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award, a research team at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College worked with UT Health San Antonio (part of the University of Texas) and developed a new way to build a piezo-based harvesting transducer for these medical devices.