by Julia Pierrepont III
LAS VEGAS, the United States, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- At this year's Consumer Electronic Show (CES), which closed here last week, thousands of vendors offered up "smart tech" apps, gadgets and services, in the hope of revolutionizing the health and fitness industries.
"Health is a big concern for everyone," Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CES owner the Consumer Technology Association, told Xinhua.
By using aritificial intelligence (AI), big data and other digital technology, "our vendors here at the CES have innovative solutions for almost everything you can think of," he said.
CARE AT HOME
In-home digital healthcare assistants are among the breakthroughs in wearable tech, which empower users to take control of their health and fitness routines.
Regarded as in-home "companions," the technology provides smart, AI-based remote caregiver solutions that enhance the monitoring and care of elders and other at-home patients.
Some smart assistants provide data and insights into patients' daily activities, dispense medication, and have built-in cameras to allow videos to be recorded to ensure treatment compliance.
Others also provide voice-enabled assistance and 24/7 customer service, track caregiver visits, and detect falls. Some can detect physical or even mental deterioration over time, as well as the progress of diseases.
"This is a revolution in in-home care," Mark Taylor, an attendee who looks after his aging mother at home, told Xinhua. "Looking after aging parents puts a lot of strain on a family. This technology can make a huge difference."
Another hot area included infant-related health and wellness devices and apps. For would-be parents looking to conceive, there is an ovulation detection device to pinpoint the optimum period of conception.
"Women ovulate only about three days in a monthly cycle, so it is important for couples that want to conceive to know exactly when it's happening," said a representative from INTIN Inc.
For those undergoing in vitro fertilization, the AI-assisted embryo analysis system Life Whisperer enables couples to rate their embryos for viability and health prior to implantation.
"Our AI-assisted analysis is 30 percent more accurate," Dr. Michelle Perugini told Xinhua.
For pregnant couples, China's Marvoto offers an innovative handheld ultrasonic fetal monitoring device that allows for accurate monitoring throughout the pregnancy in the comfort of their own home. This device has additional uses -- such as gauging the depth of belly fat layers for users seeking to lose weight.
Once the infant is born, there are many baby monitor devices that offer different degrees of functionality.
One such device is Nanit's award-winning Complete Baby Monitoring, a comprehensive system that includes a high-definition camera with computer vision technology and advanced sensors, plus an innovative smart fabric onesie with a built-in breathing band that monitors the baby's sleep patterns and breathing without needing sensors directly on the skin.
SMARTWATCHES AND MORE
Meanwhile, smartwatches were also under the spotlight, with huge advances and mind-blowing functionality.
Venu, Garmin's latest GPS smartwatch, features 24/7 health monitoring for heart rate, stress, respiration, sleep patterns, hydration, blood oxygen, energy levels and even menstrual cycles for women.
Other leaders like Suunto, Aktiia, and Omron offer smartwatches with functionality that ranges from creating and tracking customized workout routines, following detailed training plans and fitness routines, constant monitoring of blood pressure, and functions like controlling music and making payments.
"As a medical-grade blood pressure device in the form of a wristwatch, Heart Guide is a breakthrough for the category and for those who want to keep a close watch on their blood pressure anytime, anywhere," said Omron Healthcare Inc. President and CEO Ranndy Kellogg.
A couple of other innovative companies, such as UK-based WeWalk and France-based Handisco, are transforming life for the visually impaired.
Both companies produce smart canes with built-in features like Bluetooth-to-iPhone connectivity, GPS tracking, human voice directions and warnings for overhead obstacles, infrared and ultrasonic sensors, vibrating handles to warn of obstacles, and links to municipal websites.
"This is a game changer for visually-impaired people looking for greater mobility in the world of the sighted," said Sandy M, an accountant with a visually-impaired brother.