Healthy Innovation

Photo by Kate Ter Haar

There are all sorts of innovations out there designed to encourage people to improve their health.  Some of the more interesting ones are stickK– a system that encourages people to reach health goals by paying money to disliked charities or friends if a health goal isn’t reached; and Zombies, Run! which turns jogging into a game that requires the occasional burst of speed to outpace the hungry dead. A recent browse through articles on the Wired website showed some of the current health related applications of technology, some of which might be useful in the Library.

This app locates the nearest “Good Samaritan” and allows them to respond or allow the emergency to pass to the next 1st aider. This is in addition to calling 999, and the help of a first responder could increase the chance of a person surviving by administering CPR.

But Wired also included an article about recent research that suggests CPR may not be as helpful if the person attempting CPR has gained their knowledge using non-traditional methods.

One technology being investigated in China at the moment recognises signs of extreme stress and aims to use it to prevent criminal attacks. This is still very much at the early research stage and impossible to use in real time with current wearable technology. However, theoretically, this type of technology could be broadened in the future to identify people suffering from high levels of stress and offer help. Could this be useful to students suffering from stress at exam time? Allowing staff to approach with information about Wellbeing activities or Nightline cards? Obviously this brings up issues- would using this sort of technology be considered an unacceptable invasion of privacy? Or by the time the technology is up to speed would this sort of “intrusion” be considered normal? Quite a lot of questions are posed about the ethics of current wearable technology and there is due to be a panel discussion on the subject at the Digilab launch on Thursday, 16 October at Learning Commons for anyone interested.

Photo by Kate Ter Haar (Flickr)