Self-Monitoring

Activity Trackers Could Be Beneficial for Older Adults

Support.MonitorCommercially available activity-monitoring apps, Web sites, and wearable devices allow for easy self-management of health and wellness. This technology may be particularly helpful for older adults, who can improve their cognitive function through proper diet and exercise. Despite tracking monitors’ growing popularity and potential benefits, product designers rarely consider those over 65 to be a viable user group, and new human factors/ergonomics research indicates that the technology presents several usability challenges for this population.

“Many older adults have chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension that require them to self-manage their health,” said Kimberly Preusse, coauthor of “Activity Monitoring Technologies and Older Adult Users: Heuristic Analysis and Usability Assessment” and Georgia Tech engineering psychology graduate student. “Research has shown that they want to track their diet and exercise, but most don’t use activity-monitoring technologies to do so.”

“Activity-monitoring technologies can make tracking diet and exercise easier because they gather some data automatically and display trends over time,” said Preusse. “Companies should market their products directly to older adult users so that they understand how the technology can be beneficial in managing their health.”

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Source: Medical News Today.


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Forget Wristbands, the Future of Health Tracking is Skin-Mounted, Say Scientists

Support.Watch1Thanks to developments in materials science and the availability of tiny off-the-shelf chip components, it is now possible to create cost-effective, ultra-thin, sophisticated electronics that stick to the skin and move and stretch with it. Scientists and engineers from Illinois describe their design for wireless health-tracking skin patches in the journal Science.

The medical innovation is the work of two teams led by John A. Rogers, a professor at the University of Illinois, and Yonggang Huang, a professor at Northwestern University, who says they designed the device to be able to monitor a person’s health 24/7 without interfering with day-to-day activity.

“It is as soft as human skin and can move with your body, but at the same time it has many different monitoring functions,” Prof. Huang explains. “What is very important about this device is it is wirelessly powered and can send high-quality data about the human body to a computer, in real-time.”

The researchers believe skin-mounted devices offer a clearer picture of what is going on than wristband or clip-on devices, which are not as accurately coupled to the body and are plagued with background noise because they can only measure relative motion.

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Source: Medical News Today.