Tomorrow's wireless world: Healthcare to wear

In-body, on-body networks keeping a check
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

In-body, on-body networks keeping a check

Tomorrow's wireless world could be a better place to be ill, according to Ofcom which has published a report highlighting technologies that could make it outside the research lab over the next 10 to 20 years.

According to the report, in-body networks could be implanted in patients to monitor their movements and/or vital health signs, such as blood sugar level, and to send data wirelessly via a home hub or portable monitor to keep doctors informed of their patients' progress.

Wireless from A to Z

Click on the links below to find out more…

A is for Antivirus
B is for Bluetooth
C is for The Cloud
D is for dotMobi
E is for Email
F is for FMC
G is for GPS
H is for HSDPA
I is for i-mode
J is for Japan Air
K is for Korea
L is for LBS
M is for M2M
N is for NFC
O is for Operating systems
P is for Pubs
Q is for QoS
R is for Roaming
S is for Satellite
T is for TV
U is for UMTS
V is for Virgin
W is for WiMax
X is for XDA
Y is for Yucca
Z is for Zigbee

The healthcare sector could also make use of wearable on-body monitors, which would communicate with a home hub or mobile phone via Bluetooth or the like. They could be used to check patients' vital health signs, such as pulse and blood pressure, and to monitor chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease, or gauge movement or fitness levels.

Wireless tech could also power smart pill boxes and bottles which sense whether they have been opened at the appropriate time each day and can sound an alarm or send a reminder message to a patient's home hub or portable monitor if not, said the report. The tech would also have the ability to automatically notify a patient's doctor and communicate with their pharmacy to inform of a change in dosage.

RFID tags on food wrappers could also be used in conjunction with portable nutrition scanners to help allergy suffers or people with specific dietary requirements easily identify suitable foodstuffs, the report said.

Outside healthcare, the report points to many future applications of wireless tech in the transport sector, including road-to-vehicle and car-to-car comms technology to alert drivers to traffic jams to help reduce congestion; intelligent transport systems to enable vehicles to communicate with each other to avoid collisions; automatic emergency call out systems - such as Europe's eCall system - and a simplified e-ticket system which would be valid on multiple modes of transport.

Editorial standards