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ate physical exercise per week are enough to drastically reduce the global risk of mortality posed by these diseases”, explained Van Hoof who then concluded that providing accurate data about their physical activity could empower people towards disease prevention. “it’s mostly about energy balance, too much intakes without appropriate exercise and the consequences could be obesity, hypertension and their associated diseases”, explained Van Hoof, a fairly slim and athletic researcher. Many fitness-gadgets are already on the market, designed to give indications about the level of physical activity and to estimate burnt calories. According to Van Hoof, they all fail to provide accurate measurements, data that could be acted upon reliably. For this purpose, imec has developed wearable sensor circuits (in a patch form with an autonomy of one month) with elaborate algorithms to monitor energy expenditure with a claimed accuracy of 90% (compared with data acquired through lab-accurate but very obtrusive test apparatuses). The wearable patch detects the type of activity and estimates the spent calories with an error reduction by a factor of 3 compared to alternative wearable solutions, claims imec. This could lead to mobile applications with very precise daily summaries and maybe warnings or incentives for more exercises. This is an interesting technological feat, though, apart from fitness freaks or athletes looking to monitor their performances, I doubt that another beeping device would shake the unhealthy habits of junk food enthusiasts An example of a fitness mobile application. and excessive TV watchers or video gamers. Even if the device was to blip on every occasion to warn you about your raised health risks and a statistically premature death, I guess this would have less impact than the horror warnings found on cigarette packs and liquor bottles, and it would be ignored altogether by today’s unhealthy or “risk taking” people. That would be unless these devices and DNA tests become mandatory on behalf of productivity gains and money savings to be made (governments’ struggling health sectors, very large corporations and health insurance lobbies may want to impose that through legislation, otherwise who else would care?). Or maybe some insurance companies would manage to lure new customers (say the first 6 months free if you accept to sport these 24/7 real-time health warning/reading devices) to only validate the profiles that they see fit enough for a lucrative insurance policy. A few years ago, imec had discussed the iLab DNA/RNA analysis platform concept as a disposable micro-fabricated mobile accessory able to give health readings based on various bodily fluids. Today, the research centre has added other wearable readers measuring individual stress levels based on an assortment of skin-contact measurements, in the future this could be extended to wearable sensors for airborne contaminants (all connected to the cloud for real-time air quality mapping). The true people empowerment may then come from more environmental awareness and a more defined will to turn our industries and lifestyles greener for the sake of a healthier living (less would be more). Connect2 Expertise Reliability Innovation Productronica 12 - 15 November 2013 Booth B3-369 Get the right solution Proven, reliable connectors and cable assemblies are here www.fi scherconnectors.com Headquarters Fischer Connectors SA Saint-Prex - Switzerland Phone +41 800 95 95 mail@fi scherconnectors.ch www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe November 2013 17 EETimes_GEN_93x277mm_b5_11_13.indd 1 15.10.13 10:58


EETE NOV 2013
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