by Gus Iversen
, Editor in Chief | November 16, 2015
As MEDICA 2015 kicked off in Dusseldorf, Germany, today, there was early evidence that the event will continue to emphasize the potential for wearable technology to disrupt the practice of health care.
The largest health care trade show in the world has set a precedent in recent years of looking at ways technology can change the way we think of medicine. A series of presentations entitled "Wearable Technologies in Healthcare" kicked off the "Connected Healthcare Forum" — arguably one of the most informative and consistently interesting venues in the show for English speakers.
Today, from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm, a range of experts took aim at the hurdles they face in improving wearable technology and their visions for a better future. Speakers looked at topics varying from the clinical applications for remote patient monitoring of body temperature to a unique technology for distinguishing between healthy stress and "bad" stress.
One of the most interesting presentations came from AiQ, a "smart clothing" company based in Taiwan that is looking to forge new partnerships to make its vision of smart clothes a reality. The company is a segment of a larger clothing manufacturer called Tex-Ray.
In a presentation, company CTO, Dr. Chih-Cheng Lu, painted a picture of smart clothing as an obtainable and achievable goal that could be extremely disruptive to health care. Pointing out that the market base for medical clothing, (worn by hospital patients) is significantly smaller than the general market, the profit margins would be greater, said Lu.
For AiQ, clothing is an area of expertise. Part of the reason they are at MEDICA seems to be to find the right partners on the IT side of things to help realize their vision of durable, washable, (and hopefully fashionable) garments to help doctors better understand the diagnostic conditions of their patients.
According to one of Lu's slides, the Internet of Things currently includes roughly 18.2 billion devices in total, and within the next five years that number is expected to exceed 50 billion. Many people at MEDICA seem to agree, smart clothes are more a question of "when" than "if."