Improving health with wearable technology


Advancing Health Outcomes through Technology

The Challenge: From iWatch to FitBit, wearable technology that monitors clinical indicators in real time is becoming an accepted and ubiquitous method of aiding people to lead healthier lives. But the potential of wearable technology has barely been tapped.From skin patches that can sense stress levels, to jewelry that can warn against falls and other physiological dysfunctions that are the precursor to disease, such technology also has the potential to optimize performance of elite athletes, warfighters, the disabled, and aging populations. The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation program, a White House initiative to support advanced manufacturing in the U.S. is an example of the recent attention to this opportunity. Others are the roles of robotics and simulation in advancing training for the next generation of independent technology. Holographic images offer the opportunity to acquire data without physical touch – allowing patients to stay out of clinics and hospitals, where the risk of acquired infections costs $20B per year. Research and development in this area are critical to improving health for Arizona and beyond.

UA Advantage: BIO5 will leverage the expertise of engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, health sciences, and our new interactions with the FlexTech Alliance through the Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Flexible Hybrid Electronics to advance the development of sensor and wearable sensor technologies, miniaturization and optimization of signal processing, power, and wireless communication systems, and development of signal processing, analysis, and informatics. The promise of these technologies is to advance population health on a grand scale. With partners in the College of Medicine, Eller College of Management, Tech Launch Arizona, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, the UA will turn sensor responses into recommended actions to optimize health and performance, and will deploy new sensor systems to the clinic, field, and marketplace. UA is the academic scientific lead of the national team, the FlexTech Alliance, selected to further flexible hybrid electronics research that could reshape entire industries. In other areas, UA engineers and physicians are developing new robotics to sense diabetic neuropathy and signal impairment, so that treatment adherence can be improved to reduce health care costs.