10 Forecasts for the Future of Healthcare

World Future Society's special report on 20 Forecasts for the Next 25 YearsFORESIGHT may be the single most critical skill for the 21st Century. Knowledge quickly goes out of date, but foresight enables you to anticipate and navigate change, make good decisions, and take action to create a better future.

That’s why I’ve been a member of the Central Texas chapter of the World Future Society for years, where I meet interesting people with widely varied perspectives of the future. It’s also why I participate in so many Linkedin discussion groups on emerging healthcare issues.

The following ten forecasts came from the World Future Society’s special report, Forecasts for the Next 25 Years. It’s a promotional piece to attract new members who then get a subscription to The Futurist magazine.

Forecast #3. Nanotechnology offers hope for restoring eyesight.

Flower-shaped electrodes topped with photodiodes, implanted in blind patients’ eyes, may restore their sight. The “nanoflowers” mimic the geometry of neurons, making them a better medium than traditional computer chips for carrying photodiodes and transmitting the collected light signals to the brain. Read More …

Healthcare Robots – Eldercare in the Hands of Machines

Robots and other assistive technology may be inevitable in aged care moving into the future, but can they replace the human touch? Annie May reports. Reprinted from Aged Care INsite, Apr/May 2011, and expanded greatly since.

Matilda the robot can read emotions

Click image to watch video: “Matilda the robot can read emotions”

Standing at just 40cm tall and looking suspiciously like the latest toy their grandchildren have been dropping hints about for their upcoming birthdays, Matilda the robot doesn’t give the impression that she has much to offer in the way of care for the elderly.

So when placed in front of an aged care resident to talk about her diet, the resident doesn’t have high expectations. But on admitting to having a love of sweets, Matilda is quick to inform her about all the negative health impacts this indulgence can have. Becoming slightly anxious, – whether a result of being lectured by a bright orange robot or at the thought of having to cut back on her sweets – the resident is then shocked at being reassured by the robot.

How can it be that this baby-face robot can read emotions and give a sensitive response? The result of a breakthrough by Melbourne and Japanese scientists, Matilda is one of two robots, the other her brother Jack, which has been developed with ’emotional intelligent’ software.

Read More …

The next steps in Bionics

With the bionic leg, “I go leg over leg,” says Vawter. “The bionic leg listens to the various signals from my nerves and responds in a much more natural way.”

BBC Health News published Two blind British men have electronic retinas fitted this week, and it prompted me to re-post an article from last October, which includes a very good video by CBS News that hinted at electronic retinas. Now it’s starting to happen. I’ll let you follow the link above for details but encourage you to watch the video below for a sense of what technology is enabling for people with disabilities, as well as those who just want to enhance their abilities.

Step by step, bionic engineers are transforming lives in ways that barely could have been imagined until recently.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

eLegs is the creation of Berkeley BionicsThis CBS News story is about bionic limbs that replace wheelchairs, retinal implants that bring sight to the blind, and synthetic telepathy that reads thoughts and transmits them electronically through a computer and wireless network to control bionics or communicate without formal language.

CES 2012 … in Pajamas

CESinPJs

Did you go to CES this year? What struck you as a highlight (comment below)?

If you didn’t get to go, CES 2012 in Pajamas gives you all of the insight with none of the hassle or expense. This 12-page virtual trip report combines a healthcare and consumer electronics perspective so you can:

  • Learn what the analysts and pundits said.
  • Know about key trends from different perspectives.
  • Discover cool products for digital health & wellness.
  • See the products in action with over 4.5 hours of video.
  • And discover who was missing and the significance.

Headings:

  • About CES
  • Getting the Most from this Report
  • General Media Coverage of CES
  • Is CES becoming Irrelevant?
  • It’s All about the Platform & Ecosystem
  • Smarter, Thinner Televisions
  • Smarter, Thinner PC & Tablets
  • Smartphones & mHealth
  • Healthy Games
  • Home Networking & Energy Management
  • Robots

Be part of the Future of Healthcare. Our in-home evaluation is a fun and education survey that helps medical researchers collect autonomous health information so they can find unexpected correlations and find new treatments. It’s part of the Next Frontier for Big Data.

Robotic arms help dress the elderly & physically disabled

Taking clothes on and off are essential activities in daily life, but for elderly and physically challenged people this can be difficult due to limited mobility in the upper limbs.

A Breakthrough in Robotics: WAM™ Arms at NAIST Aid in Dressing the Elderly and Infirm

Robotic arms help dress the elderly or disabled

Barrett's WAM(TM) robotic arms help to dress the elderly and physically disabled.

CAMBRIDGE, MA–(Marketwire – Nov 10, 2011) – The Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), of Japan, has created the world’s first robot system that learns to clothe elderly and physically disabled people. Leveraging the concept of “skills transfer” from a human caregiver to a robot, “reinforcement learning” takes place in minutes, gracefully adapting to the individual size and shape of the person being dressed. Barrett Technology, Inc. manufactures the patented robotic arms and is working closely with NAIST researchers. This international collaboration has been a seamless synthesis of Barrett’s contact-compliant hardware and NAIST’s advanced computer intelligence.

Many benefits of modern medicine are helping baby-boomers live well into their 80s and 90s. At the same time couples are having fewer children, thereby constraining family care givers. Many older people want the dignity of independence but often require assistance with basic activities, such as cooking, bathing, and dressing. Increasingly, robots are playing vital roles in solving quality-of-life issues for this growing segment of our population.

Read More …

Forecasts for the Future of Healthcare

World Future Society's special report on 20 Forecasts for 2011-2025FORESIGHT may be the single most critical skill for the 21st Century.

Knowledge quickly goes out of date, but foresight enables you to anticipate and navigate change, make good decisions, and take action to create a better future. It’s why I’ve been a member of the Central Texas chapter of the World Future Society for years, where I meet interesting people with widely varied perspectives of the future. It’s also why I participate in so many Linkedin discussion groups on emerging healthcare issues.

9 Forecasts for the Future of Healthcare

The following nine forecasts came from the World Future Society’s special report, 20 Forecasts for 2011-2025. It’s a promotional piece to attract new members who then get a subscription to The Futurist magazine.

Forecast #1: The Race for Genetic Enhancements Will Be What the Space Race Was in the 20th Century. Genetic therapies and biomedical enhancements will be a multibillion-dollar industry. New techniques will enable doctors to change your DNA to revitalize old or diseased organs, enhance your appearance, increase your athletic ability, or boost your intelligence.

Read More …

Technology may hinder job growth (and change medicine)

IBM extends its Jeopardy-winning Watson supercomputer into Medicine and other industries

I talk to lots of jobseekers who can’t find jobs with benefits, especially if they’re seniors over age 55, so I found this Reuters article, Rise in machines may hinder job growth, especially interesting and added the following comment.

Extend Moore’s Law out 50 years and consider the labor implications of futurist predictions that could all happen in our lifetime. By 2013, a supercomputer (e.g. IBM’s Watson) will have the reasoning and processing capacity of the Human Brain. By 2023, a $1,000 home computer will have that power; and by 2037, a $0.01 embedded computer will. By 2049, a $1,000 computer will have the power of the human Race; and by 2059, a $0.01 computer will. Imagine the labor (and healthcare) implications. Google today only searches and finds information. It doesn’t interpret it or turn it into insight. It’s not self-aware, yet. And other nations are advancing broadband Internet faster than here, which enables offshore outsourcing. Since there are already much faster connections to India than Indiana, all US knowledge-based jobs are at risk, including lawyers and radiologists, but maybe not politician jobs, since they arguably aren’t knowledge based.   🙂

In Lessons from Healthcare Innovation in India, this nation has found ways to serve a large, poor and rural population with limited resources (doctors are scarce: 1 per 100,000 people versus 1/160 in the U.S.). But India’s innovation was mostly due to process engineering, rather than technology per say. I can only imagine the results when both are combined and then reflect on the labor force questions posed by the Reuters article (and the future of healthcare).

How do you think tech innovation will affect healthcare and jobs? Weigh in with a comment below.

The next steps in Bionics

Step by step, bionic engineers are transforming lives in ways that barely could have been imagined until recently.

eLegs is the creation of Berkeley BionicsThis CBS News story is about bionic limbs that replace wheelchairs, retinal implants that bring sight to the blind, and synthetic telepathy that reads thoughts and transmits them electronically through a computer and wireless network to control bionics or communicate without formal language.

Economic Value of Robots, Prosthetics & Assistive Tech

National Geographic's gallery of Robot PhotographyThis month’s National Geographic features a story about robots that can think, act, and relate to humans and asks if we are ready. A related article on bionics follows innovations in neural prostheses, or mechanical systems that tie into the nervous system and function like living organisms or parts of living organisms, giving sight to the blind, sound to the deaf, and movement to the amputee or quadriplegic. Both articles are logical extensions of our discussion of healthcare robots, and I found them extremely interesting.

Androids represent a new generation of robots designed as autonomous agents capable of thinking, learning and taking on tasks previously done by humans in a human environment, rather than as programmed industrial machines that do only one thing. They may soon be able to move about the home, cook for us, fold laundry, babysit children, tend to elderly, and become companions.

But that raises lots of questions. How much human function do we want to outsource to robots? Will they behave ethically and have human-like feelings? What will they look like; how will we interact with them; will we accept them; and can we afford them?

Read More …

Robot Exoskeleton helps man walk after 20yrs

ReWalk™ is a wheelchair alternative for individuals with severe walking impairments, enabling them to stand, walk, ascend/descent stairs and more.

The video shows Radi Kaiof, a former Israeli paratrooper who was injured on duty. He demonstrates the promise ReWalk has for the future. The current version costs about $150,000, has an 8 hour battery life, and is in clinical trial testing at MossRehab in suburban Philadelphia. We hope to see devices like this on the market soon at affordable prices.

In the Hands of Machines, about healthcare robots

Robots and other assistive technology may be inevitable in aged care moving into the future, but can they replace the human touch? Annie May reports. Reprinted with permission from Aged Care INsite, Apr/May 2011

Matilda the robot can read emotions

Click image to watch video: "Matilda the robot can read emotions"

Standing at just 40cm tall and looking suspiciously like the latest toy their grandchildren have been dropping hints about for their upcoming birthdays, Matilda the robot doesn’t give the impression that she has much to offer in the way of care for the elderly.

So when placed in front of an aged care resident to talk about her diet, the resident doesn’t have high expectations. But on admitting to having a love of sweets, Matilda is quick to inform her about all the negative health impacts this indulgence can have. Becoming slightly anxious, – whether a result of being lectured by a bright orange robot or at the thought of having to cut back on her sweets – the resident is then shocked at being reassured by the robot.

How can it be that this baby-face robot can read emotions and give a sensitive response? The result of a breakthrough by Melbourne and Japanese scientists, Matilda is one of two robots, the other her brother Jack, which has been developed with ’emotional intelligent’ software.

Read More …

I’ll Have My Robots Talk to Your Robots

 

The Art & Science of Telepresence, by Bloomberg Businessweek

Here’s my reply to this Business Week article:

Proprietary technologies from Cisco, Polycom and others will likely remain in a niche market, because mass-market telepresence adoption, like the phone system before it, depends on Metcalfe’s law. Metcalfe stated that “the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system.”

That means free services like Skype and FaceTime, which reply on open standards, can provide value that increases exponentially as they scale to far more users. Yes, their video quality is limited by network speed, but as bandwidth increases they will soon support HDTV resolutions. They’ll also adjust resolution automatically to match network speed so the same software can be used for low- or high-res video calls, depending on who you’re calling and where.

Already companies like Lifesize Communications deliver HD video quality in telepresence systems for small businesses and home offices. They only need 1Mbps of bandwidth in both directions, so Cisco is on the right track with Umi, and if anything is scrambling to catch up.

Cisco likely sees the futility of its proprietary designs. Rather than building or renting a $200,000 telepresence suite with multiple HDTV screens, each with high bandwidth requirements, it seems more prudent to invest in systems that can sense who is speaking and automatically display their image onto a single PC video screen in HD.

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_09/b4217052022321.htm