Our bodies are the next technology front

Anthony Caruana
2 October, 2017
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It’s interesting to look back over the last three decades as technology has progressed. I’m writing this editorial from Silicon Valley – the heart of the PC revolution that started in earnest when Apple released its first computer back in April 1976.

Eight years later, Apple released the first Macintosh and the ‘war’ between Mac users and Windows users started. Since then, we have moved on from Bill Gates’ vision of ‘a computer in every home’ to carrying multiple devices that would astound those early pioneers.

So, what’s next? As I write this, I’m listening to some experts talk about the Internet of Things – the billions of small devices like sensors, smart lights and connected appliances – and how to keep it secure. I’m not going to talk about security today (that’s a big topic for another day), but rather about how things have changed when it comes to personal computing.

This morning, I attended a super interesting presentation about how technology affects sports.

It’s clear to me that the next major computing platform will be us. Our technology is becoming increasingly personal.

The recent update of the Apple Watch software, watchOS 4, increases the functionality of the heart rate monitor, adding alerts for when your heart rate falls outside a ‘safe’ range. And I’ve seen insulin monitors that provide real-time data about blood glucose levels so people with diabetes can be alerted when their levels are outside a healthy range.

The sports technology presentation I attended today, and others I’ve been to recently, can monitor an athlete’s performance, giving insights about everything down to small changes in stride length – something that can act as a predictor of injury.

And these sorts of measurements are something that will eventually make their way into consumer devices.

Apple is at the forefront of these changes with platforms such as HealthKit and ResearchKit that allow scientists and technologists to work together – not just for elite athletes and people with pre-existing conditions, but for the benefit of everyone.

As they say, prevention is the best cure. And these emerging platforms help monitor our health and tell us to take preventative action before an issue becomes more acute.

This is why I think our bodies will be the next major technology platform.

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