Intel has gotten FDA clearance for a health monitor which can interface with wired or wireless health measurement devices such as glucose meters and blood pressure cuffs.
The Intel Health Guide is designed for people with chronic conditions, patients who currently call doctors regularly or have nurses come by. But it could become the first in a line of products for aging in place, an immense market.
When I first began writing about such products in 2003, I called this "The World of Always On," foreseeing WiFi networks as application platforms for medical, home inventory, security, and home automation applications.
The Health Guide is both more and less ambitious than that.
It's more ambitious in that it integrates personal communication with the doctor, medication reminders, educational information, and such functions as videoconferencing within the device.
It's less ambitious in that it is entirely application-specific, designed solely for health care. Many of its functions are also built around Ethernet-delivered wired communication, placing it in front of rather than behind a wireless router.
Intel has already done some pilot studies of the device but says it will conduct more, this time with health organizations which might act as re-sellers. Expect it to come available in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Me, I'm healthy but I want one now.