iPhones for eHealth applications

iphone ehealth
iPhones represent a great leap forward in wearable technology that can transcend the technology barrier. It is widely used by the young and old alike and hence is an ideal monitoring device for health applications. Not only are people more likely to wear these devices as monitors but it can also be a survey instrument and reminder tool to assist in compliance with medical rehabilitation and research programmes.

The accelerometer and gyroscope sensors allow the monitoring of acceleration in x,y,z and angular velocity around x,y,z. This gives 6 degrees of freedom which is perfect for monitoring human activity. These sensors can have sample rates up to 100Hz which gives a unique insight into the activity which cannot be easily seen by the naked eye if at all. The GPS and compass allows position and orientation to be obtained at 1Hz which is useful for monitoring position around a particular environment.

The iPhone is good to measure human activity and determine activity levels which have applications to

  • rehabilitation
  • obesity due to inactivity
  • geriatrics
  • diabetes
The advantages of using the iPhone/iPod to measure activity is that:
  • it allows the measurement of the activity away from the lab environment and patients normal environment.
  • the general public’s familiarity gives better uptake of the technology. Most people own one or have used one
  • it has a good array of inertial sensors to monitor activity
  • it has a good array of radios to transmit the data
  • it is well engineered
  • it can allieviate the need for patients to fill in activity surveys.
  • It has been found that Patient compliance with survey logs of activity is a big problem. Often the patients are diligent for a week or so and then accuracy drops off quickly.The iPhone can be used to allieviate this problem because it can be used to collect activity information without the need for the patient to fill in a survey.

    An example of activity capture can be seen in the following image which shows a person walking for 50 metres, jumping, and the walking another 50m, followed by another set of jumps.