Startup Makes Wearable Tech to Monitor Vitals, Head Trauma

mc10b

Believe it or not, there are some tech companies that aren’t interested in smartglasses or smartwatches. MC10′s approach to wearable technology has been to completely re-imagine how that technology can be used to monitor and improve a person’s health. It’s technology that can take your vitals, monitor for possible trauma, and even improve the outcome of surgical procedures.

This is accomplished by inventions such as an ultra-thin, skin-like tattoo with tiny dots, called a bio-stamp. The stamp is worn on the surface of the skin to monitor body vitals. A head impact indicator has also been developed with backing from Reebok to detect danger of concussion and other head injuries.

The technology can be used inside the human body as well, with the company also developing an “intelligent catheter.” This has nanometer-thin sensors, and can be inserted into the body giving doctors real-time feedback during a procedure.

These inventions have the potential to revolutionize medicine, representatives from the company say. No longer would a patient be confined to a bed with wires attached. Now they could just wear the thin patch, with a small radio transmitter sending vitals back to the doctors. The patch weighs only three-thousandths of an ounce, so the patient wouldn’t even feel a thing.

The hat, which monitors the head for impact injuries – called “Checklight” – looks like a normal everyday hat – not one which would stand out in any way. If you don’t include the glowing Reebok sensor at the back, that is.

This is all part of what is becoming known in the industry as wireless sensor technology” or “epidermal electronics” and it is taking off fast.

Carmichael Roberts, co-founder and chairman of MC10 told Fox News recently:

“If you think about the evolution of electronics, to the point where your cellphone is such an important device….it’s not something you feel like you’re wearing. We have a product where you don’t even know you have it on.”

Some inventions, such as the Hydration Sensor, send those vital stats back to the person’s smartphone, as you can see in the following video.

David Icke, CEO of MC10tells Reuters:

“You can’t improve what you can’t measure, so if you could instead have a body measurement that happens in an innocuous way, you can then start to measure and track things, and work on improving them.”

Images: MC10

10 Comments ▼

Mark O'Neill - Staff Writer


Mark O'Neill Mark O'Neill is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering software and social media. He is a freelance journalist who has been writing for over 25 years, and has successfully made the leap from newspapers and radio onto the Internet. From 2007-2013, he was the Managing Editor of MakeUseOf.com, a technology blog with 500,000+ subscribers.

10 Reactions

  1. This is interesting but don’t you think that this has gone a little crazy? It just somehow gives me the creeps that it is like a tattoo on the skin. Wouldn’t this have a consequence on the body since it is not natural?

    • I don’t know – there are a whole heap of things we put in our bodies that aren’t natural, so it’s nothing new in that sense. However, I do share your thoughts about it being creepy.

      Oh I’ve just thought about a birth control method where something’s inserted under the skin. So maybe the bio-stamps aren’t that weird after all. But still, I don’t know, I’m not feeling it.

  2. Sensors like this on the skin could be very effective at detecting the severity of head trauma. I was watching the Olympics last night and one of the female competitors in snowboarding slopestyle crashed so hard it broke her helmet. Would be interesting to see how much force she took (via a little sensor like this).

  3. This unnerves me in ways I can’t explain. It reminds me of the post about Amazon drones delivering products in the future. No matter how smart and useful bio-stamps/sensors/tattoos may be, it doesn’t sit quite well with me.

  4. Very cool! I have no doubt medical monitoring with wearable tech will continue to grow rapidly. So many applications make sense.

    Smart watches are of course also playing in the medical monitoring biz. For example, Apple’s upcoming iWatch is reportedly planning to offer health monitoring features (their sr. execs have been having high-level meetings w/ FDA officials recently). I wonder what Google might be up to, as well, given their passion for monitoring and extracting personal information about us.

  5. Tech like this is not something to be afraid of but embrace as long as you control the tech u put on your body instead of depending on it leading it to control you but his will lead to amazing innovations like clothes with stretchable circuits that can read temp and keep your body at perfect temp or give a small shocjk in case of cardiac arrest or even cell phones that are made by thin layers you wear on your arm like an arm warmer just so much good can come to streamline lives and make t safer it should be embraced and made into what we need want and deserve not turn it into something else through fear and misunderstanding like wireless electricity 100 years ago or the telescope 400 years ago. Eventually we catch on but the time lost thru fear is wasted.

    • I hear you, hunter, but I’m not going to deny that it unnerves me. Everyone’s different, as will everyone’s reactions. Some will welcome it, embrace it, while others will be guarded, uncomfortable with the idea. It’s likely I’ll grow used to such technology when it comes out, especially if and when I decide to use it one day, but we’ll see.

  6. The possibilities of wearable tech are fascinating. Sure, some may be a little controversial/creepy, but you have to admit there’s some pretty cool ideas out there. Just last year alone over $300M worth of wearable tech devices were sold – a giant market opportunity. For National Nutrition Month, theres a survey being done about wearable tech and its relation to health, nutrition and fitness (http://nutritionandwearabletech.questionpro.com) – can’t wait to see the results for this.

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