IBM wearable technology provides mobile health monitoring using hand strength

IBM wearable technology fingernails

The latest in mhealth uses a fingernail sensor to quickly and easily measure your overall wellness.

A new IBM wearable technology was unveiled this week, adding a “first of its kind” to the mobile health industry.

At the moment, this mhealth wearable device remains in the prototype phase.

There have been other types of mhealth device in the form of wearables. From the traditional fitness tracker to gadgets that smell your breath, sample your stool or gauge how you type, mobile health technology is rapidly expanding. That said, a new IBM wearable technology comes in the form of a fingernail sensor that would be worn all day long.

This device would then function to gauge how the fingernails bend throughout the length of the day. To the lay person, this may not sound like much. After all, bending fingernails isn’t something your doctor typically does during a routine physical. However, as it turns out, fingernail bending can offer a strikingly accurate measure of grip strength. Grip strength can help to detect any range of different medical conditions.

The IBM wearable technology is meant to be worn over time to collect data to identify trends.

The more the IBM wearable health tech is worn, the more data it can collect. Algorithms are used to parse that data so that the health of the individual can be monitored for trends over time. Therefore, should something be detected, that data can be used to alert a doctor of potential health concerns.

“It’s designed to capture everyday movement by people in their daily lives — whether they are at home, outside, or in a car,” said IBM vice president of healthcare and life sciences research Ajay Royyuru, in a Digital Trends report. “It’s lightweight, wireless, and unobtrusive. We have a team working to get the device even smaller, so that it is just a speck on your fingertip.”

Studies examining grip strength have shown that it can offer insight into a range of chronic conditions from Parkinson’s Disease to schizophrenia, explained Royyuru. “In one cardiovascular disease study, reduced grip strength was a better predictor of death than blood pressure.” The IBM wearable technology was, therefore, designed to use that knowledge to spot potential issues earlier than an individual’s regular checkups at the doctor’s office.

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