As turkey day nears, we’re gobbling up news about the latest technology developments. Our HIT List this week is stuffed with updates on innovations ranging from the healthcare IoT to senior care apps to next-gen biological sensors, proving we have plenty to give thanks for.

  1. Healthcare IoT takes shape. Imagine light bulbs that automatically adjust UV light emission to your stress levels, or TVs that connect to real-time data dashboards that analyze your health and recommend consultations with your physician, therapist and/or personal trainer. These are just a couple of the many possibilities likely to become a reality sooner than later, thanks to the fast-emerging healthcare Internet of Things (IoT). Check out the factors driving development of this interconnected network.
  2. Elder tech is booming. Young Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have started to turn their talents to helping seniors do everything from manage daily drug regimens to better cope with dementia to improve quality of life. For example, there are music-based cognitive and physical stimulation apps, robot companions and personal airbags that inflate to protect against breaking bones in case of a fall. See what other solutions the high-tech whiz kids are dreaming up.
  3. Tech savvy winners. Top honors in the 4th annual McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards went to a skilled nursing facility that uses video conferencing to provide convenient care to residents as well as reduce hospital readmissions. Other winners include a senior living campus that projects appointment reminders and family messages on the walls of resident rooms as part of widespread tech upgrades and a senior community that created its own interactive, video-game inspired memory care software.
  4. Changing attitudes. Although only 15% of family physicians currently use telehealth, nearly 9 out of 10 said they would – if properly compensated. A new survey indicates 3 out of 4 family physicians see telehealth as a way to improve access to care, despite believing many patients prefer in-person visits. Rural physicians and those in practice less than 10 years were most likely to use telehealth. But clearly, everyone sees the potential.
  5. Next-gen biological sensors. Popular wearable sensors track everything from fitness activity to sleep patterns these days. But researchers are hard at work figuring out how to get your smartphone to measure your vital signs when it’s simply sitting in your pocket or purse. The goal is to capture and analyze small movements of your body – think beating heart, rising and falling chest – using your smartphone’s accelerometer, the same technology that adjusts the orientation of your screen. Stay tuned.
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