Research topics Apple and Google: New healthcare innovations and future medical technology

Apple's smart 'iWatch' has been rumored to come out this year. (Credit: The New York Times)

Apple’s smart ‘iWatch’ has been rumored to come out this year. (Credit: The New York Times)

It is a brave, new world in terms of scientific progress and how we treat illness. The future of medical technology is evolving with new healthcare innovations arriving daily. What was once imagined only in science fiction a few years ago is now a real possibility in terms of how we cure diseases or monitor conditions. What is next in medical technology or healthcare innovations, and what can we expect from companies like Apple and Google? The possibilities just might be limitless and offer a fascinating topic to explore in a science-related research paper.

Tech advances

The impact of technology has been felt in every aspect of our daily lives, but perhaps where it can do the most good is in the arena of healthcare. Anna Marie Kukec wrote “What is coming up?” for the Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Ill.) on January 12, 2014, with an eye toward what new advances would have the most impact in our daily lives over the next twelve months.

Kukec interviewed Martin Slark, CEO of Molex Inc., who cited the increasing presence of wearable devices “particularly those for consumer and medical uses.” Slark considered smart watches and eyeglasses as the next evolution of smartphones and tablets. The Google Glass project has gotten a lot of attention as a quirky way to be online and interact with the world, but there are real and valuable healthcare solutions that could result from that kind of technology.

Major developments

When major tech players such as Apple get involved, it is easy to see how important, and lucrative, the world of new healthcare innovations can be. In fact, Apple has drawn attention for its efforts to expand its personnel working on wearable computers and medical-sensor-laden devices in recent months, according to a January 17, 2014, post by Mark Gurman on 9to5Mac, “Apple continues hiring raid on medical sensor field as it develops eye scanning technology.”

Gurman explained, “Apple has been seeking even more engineering prowess to work on products with medical sensors. Earlier this year, two notable people from the medical sensor world joined Apple to work on the team behind the iWatch’s hardware vision.” He added that because of their popularity and ubiquity, Apple is also uniquely positioned to make medical sensor technology and health monitoring available to the masses.

Meanwhile, Google is hard at work on their own new healthcare innovations—smart contact lenses. David Goldman reported about their efforts in “Google to make smart contact lenses” on January 17, 2014, at CNN Money. Fitted with “tiny wireless chips and glucose sensors, sandwiched between two lenses,” the smart lenses would be “able to measure blood sugar levels once per second,” Goldman explained. The lenses have been developed at the famous Google X labs, “a breeding ground for projects that could solve some of the world’s biggest problems.”

What it all means

Scientists and researchers are always searching for better ways to treat patients, particularly those with chronic diseases such as diabetes. For many years, they have been looking into the possibility of measuring glucose levels through body fluids, including tears. Both Apple’s and Google’s efforts would make monitoring of blood sugar a much less painful task.

But these types of devices may be just the beginning. Research on future medical technology is an ever-expanding area. One of the scientists that Apple hired recently was Nancy Dougherty who, according to Gurman, previously “worked on ‘research and development for an FDA regulated Class I medical device; a Bluetooth-enabled electronic “Band-Aid” that monitors heart rate, respiration, motion, and temperature’.” 

What do you think? How will technology impact health care in positive ways in the future?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

Want to learn more about health and medicine? Check out Questia to learn more about the social and ethical aspects of science and technology.

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