iPhone as Medical Tricorder

The future is all around us. Our cars will probably never fly, but man we are getting some interesting tech in the last 5 years, driven largely by the worldwide adoption of iOS devices loaded with sensors and the software framework to exploit those scanners. Apple themselves are about to push their “HealthKit”, an API (application programming interface) to access and share health data as collected and processed by the iOS device.

The interesting twist isn’t on the tech side, it’s on the business side. But before delving into that, can you imagine the various advantages to tracking your body health datapoints in real time – how is your sleep this week, your protein intake, your blood sugar, your physical activity? I think we all inherently understand alcohol hangovers, but most of us don’t further tie our moods to our diet & physical health. If my device monitored 5-10 daily levels and I was really having a shitty day, I’d be curious to know what that looked like to avoid it in the future. Think sugar crashes, how much spicy food, hours sitting, lactose intolerance, miles pedaled, acid reflux, body fat, and more serious stuff like peanut allergies, HIV, and other human issues that some of us must manage.

The twist is that Apple, flush with money and influence, is trying to modernize the health insurance market in the US by working with major health providers and insurers. They have made key hires from that industry and have been working for years laying the groundwork. The end result being that HealthKit apps might actually share data with your healthcare providers, allowing them more accuracy, efficiency and hopefully better care.

If you are outside of America, this must be obvious. Who needs your health data more than your doctor? But in the states nothing medical is shared. Everyone has a data silo (which translates into a revenue source), backed up by a federally enforced rule known as HIPAA, and the patient is left to suffer. Yes, we often receive decent care and plenty of scans by expensive cameras, but it comes at a HUGE personal cost, much frustration, and there are many cases of misdiagnosis because of the lack of data sharing.

Apple knows “the iPod model” will keep working – make a device easy and portable enough, add features that actually work at a core level (not marketing me-too fluff like samsung), market it properly, and watch the thing take off. This healthkit thing, if done right, will make our iOS devices our medical iPods, and perhaps the waiting room dance will become as easy as checking into a flight with your iPhone.

I think we are about to get alot more physical with our phones, which is why I think I want a wrist iPhone instead of a pocket iPhone.

Now we can all scan B’Lana. I know I was scanning up and down back then. Hottest Klingon?

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iWatch Your Health

Finally, mainstream consumer technology has noticed the health of the consumer. Instead of computers just making us fatter, lazier, and more spoiled than ever before, there’s some pushback in the form of wearable health tech, and it looks like Apple might be the driving force here.

Last week they announced their HealthKit API to developers, which is a nerdy way of saying “Here, build things”. Healthkit is a set of frameworks to track, share, and communicate calorie consumption, sleep activity, blood glucose, blood oxygen levels, and other health metrics.

Any mobile iOS device (not AppleTV) will be able to act as your sensor array and primary tracking system. Macs will probably be able to track but not monitor, as they do not have the same mobile sensors as iOS devices. This is not revolutionary but evolutionary, as the iPod has been helping people track their jogging performance for almost a decade now, and of course GPS is used for tracking your travel by bike or foot. The health section on Apple’s App Store has been buzzing.

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It gets really interesting when you factor in a possible new mobile iOS device – the iWatch. If you shrink down the key elements to the iPhone5 and put them behind a curved glass wristband, well then you might have something.

I think it’s technically possible beause most of the battery life in an iOS device is used to power the display. The smaller display requires a smaller battery. The removal of all ports except a lightning connector also saves a ton of space. Apple has spent their billions the last few years working on both curved glass and custom battery shaping tech. If the whole band is battery there’s plenty of space. Have you seen the size of some current watches? Plenty of volume if you can work in that rounded shape.

If Apple gets a touchscreen iOS watchband to market I think they could have a winning product. It’s all about the feature set – what it can and more importantly can’t do. Do you need your “cloud” in your watch? Do you need the full internet? Do you need wifi, 3G, etc?

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Perhaps Apple will say no. Your watch should tell the time and help monitor your body metrics, at least version 1. Maybe if it’s within bluetooth range of a trusted device it can sync or use internet, I don’t know. Perhaps they cram those radios into it, we will just have to wait and see. I know Apple has been combining and reducing the size of their various mobile radios.

I also know my life could use a simple sleep tracker, calorie counter, exercise tracker, and electronic medical record holder that also knew my schedule, my contacts, and my habits. These apps exist as stand-alone concepts, but each one has to be configured to your liking and then your data is not shared with any other systems.

The Healthkit API could finally force the sharing of this data, both for personal goal encouragement and for medical professionals tasked with providing you care.

(BTW – This weekend I saw a Samsung ad saying ‘the future is here now’ with their smart-watch prominently displayed. Apple could counter with an ad that shows their smart-watch doing various things with the tagline ‘our future works’ ;-))

 

The Problem With A-B’ing And Why Neil Young Is Right About Sound Quality

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Great Tape Op post that’s thinking big about audio, music, and hearing.

The main crutch of the good enough team is what is called the double-blind listening test (shortened to ABX). When doing studies based on perception, it is the great measuring stick, and perhaps the only way they can start to squeeze some numbers out of human sensory perception.

It’s basic – here’s source A, here’s source B, maybe switch back and forth a couple of times, now make your decision. Which one was better? Can you hear a difference? Do you like one better than the other?

But as the article states, every ABX test is flawed because of it’s short sample time, and building out theories on these short ‘taste-test’ findings has led us to this mess of bad science and bad assumptions.

Since we live with and love music in intimate ways we cannot accurately write or describe, the author proposes that for any “double blind” tests to be valid the subjects should actually get to keep and live with their music collection for a month or two, then report their feelings towards it.

Much like how a sugary treat tastes better than anything next to it, but if you lived on sugary treats all month you would be feeling much worse than the person with the quality diet. Often the lesser files are close enough on initial inspection to fool enough people, and the ABX test stops right there. No one is doing long-term ABX tests, we all are doing taste tests, not nutrition tests.

Neil Young and the high-def audio movement is about getting the nutrition back into your music. There’s industrial white bread, and then there’s all those other breads. They both hold the sandwich together but living off the nutrition inside of it leads us to different outcomes.

 

Pedal For Sex

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Here’s motivation to get (back) in shape: A recent study shows that women can pick the best cyclist by their “hotness”. That’s right, cycling  does indeed make you hotter to strange women, and your hotness appears to be directly linked to your ranking on the bike! The better you perform the hotter you are!

It’s kind of amazing (beyond the “no shit” element) that these 816 random people (2/3 women), without knowing anything about these 80 men and their comparable successes, do indeed apply a sexiness ranking equalling their sports ranking.

This definitely flies against the ‘gold-digger’ concept. With an unknown life ranking, the potential mate successfully ordered them in nearly the same order as the timekeeper.

 

Slimdown The Lying Republicans

Those Retarded Republicans are at it again. Senator Obama ran for president on the promise of bringing “universal” health coverage to America. Being that America has a for-profit “free market” healthcare system, this means the free market has provided us with a healthy, well-insured population that is protected from catastrophic costs and prejudiced coverage rules, right?  Unknown Continue reading

Obamacare requires most insurers to tackle obesity

Obamacare requires most insurers to tackle obesity.

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Sounds good to me. If your BMI is high, you will be able to access wellness counselors, health coaches, even Weight Watchers Inc. through Obamacare, perhaps with no co-pay.

Another nice part of this obviously needed thing in modern America – there should be plenty of competition. See, how they address obesity is something that the insurance providers get to decide, perhaps based on regionalism and demographics.

If it all works we will be able to shop in our state’s exchange for a plan that fits us based on various health categories such as obesity. And since one size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to bodies and our problems, this could deliver better quality care.

The Big Payback by Nina Turner

Not Tina Turner, not a James Brown song, but some good old fashioned politics:

Women Fight Back: Ohio Bill Makes Erectile Dysfunction Her Business

State Senator Turner is the real deal, fighting the forces of ridiculousness and hypocrisy. Men in the US continue to legislate women’s reproductive and sexual rights, so Senator Turner is pushing back with the obvious “how do you like it?”.

A Broken Bike Is Such A Drag

I started riding a bike again regularly about 4 years ago. I immediately lost weight, felt healthier, saw my town in a more interesting way, and generally started to turn into a bike nerd — without the spandex! As much as I rode my bike, I couldn’t get myself to wear biker clothes. Since my daily employment doesn’t require me to wear a suit/uniform I just roll around in my regular gear and try to take more showers.

The bike I bought – classified as a hybrid road bike – has skinny rims/tires. I’m around 200 lbs and I’ve blown out 3 rear rims so far. The roads here are horrible and sometimes I ride my bike like I’m 11 again, so my back rim really takes a beating. About 2 months ago the back wheel went way out of ‘true’ again making the bike unrideable. I have been so busy with the rest of my life (and money) that I haven’t fixed that bike.

After 2 months without the bike? I gained serious weight again, am starting to feel yuck, and generally just miss my baby. I’m going to have the bike shop build me custom rims (supposedly the most durable) and I need to get back on the road soon.

This is my new desire — The Raleigh Roper. It’s 3x the price of my current ride, but if I could only learn to save my money…

Raleigh makes such pretty bikes

America Prevails

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The Supreme Court decided the ACA (Affordable Healthcare Act), or Obamacare as it’s been called (usually negatively), was in fact legal and constitutional, particularly the mandate that all citizens must be covered somewhere/somehow. To reach this ruling, the high court actually rejected the term mandate and labeled it a tax, maintaining the governments right to enact it.

Good news. The doomsday scenarios at Faux and Friends are getting more hilarious by the hour. This idea of doing the same thing as most other wealthy nations somehow terrifies them, and they are convinced that Michelle Obama will fine their overweight asses for not eating enough broccoli.

Even after admitting that many doctors can opt out, that the poor are immediately helped, and that the rich will still receive the best medical service on the planet, these republicans still believe this is the end of it all. Very funny and strange, they think this is more important than almost starting WW3 a few years back. Comedy these days is Fox news.? Continue reading

Respect.

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Jobs during the mac development era


If you got the idea of empowering people through a friendly, logical computer interface, you’ve liked this guy for a long time.

If you got the idea that UNIX power should have a mainstream use, you’ve liked this guy for a long time.

If you or your kids enjoy certain computer animation films, you’ve liked this guy for a long time.


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Jobs during the NeXT years, planting seeds for the networking and digital media future.


If you appreciate the design that goes into products that become an extension or a tool, rather than an enemy, you’ve liked this guy for a long time.

If you appreciate progressive business ideals (at least for america) you’ve liked this guy for a long time.


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Jobs unveiling an early iPod, the device that changed everything.


If you think all of the above is crap and he’s just another business man trying to make a buck, you’ve come to appreciate this guy recently.

Today he announced he was unable to continue as CEO. Cancer is a bitch, even to one of the most compelling business leaders the world has seen in generations.

15 years ago the company he founded was a punch line in the very industry it created. Then Think Different happened. iMac. iPod. iPhone. iTouch. iPad. A 10-year run even the biggest fan boy couldn’t have imagined.

The man’s grand design came together and prevailed over FUD.

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs smiles during a Q&A session at the end of the iPhone OS4 special event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California in this April 8, 2010, file photo. Apple Inc co-founder and former CEO Jobs, counted among the greatest American CEOs of his generation, died on October 5, 2011 at the age of 56, after a years-long and highly public battle with cancer and other health issues. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS HEADSHOT OBITUARY)

Jobs during a recent event for Apple, visibly thin and weak.

All that said, the iCloud is on the horizon, and my friends and I have taken to calling it SkyNet. Apple without Jobs could possibly revert to bad strategies.