A team of US researchers at the Center of Excellence for Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge (MD2K) are developing advanced health wearables as part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) big data initiative.

The MD2K team consists of top scientists and researchers from 12 universities in the US, including University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Northwestern University and University of California San Diego, and non-profit organisation, Open mHealth. The team members are specialists in their fields of Computer Science, Engineering, Medicine, Behavioural Science and Statistics.

MD2K is one of the Big Data Centres of Excellence that the NIH has invested in to develop innovative tools to make it easier to gather, analyse and interpret health data generated by mobile and wearable sensors.

The goal of the big data solutions being developed by MD2K is to reliably quantify physical, biological, behavioural, social and environmental factors that contribute to health and disease risk.

The MD2K team is specifically focusing on two health conditions with high mortality risk – reducing hospital readmission in congestive heart failure (CHF) patients and preventing relapse in abstinent smokers. The results of the latter will also be applicable to other diseases such as asthma, substance abuse and obesity.

According to TrendinTech, MD2K has already developed a number of advanced wearables that can effectively monitor conditions and collect useful data that can be used to improve treatment. One such device is AutoSense, a chest-band that transmits electrocardiogram data directly to a smartphone that has the mCeerebrum software – an open source software suite for mobile sensor data – installed.

MD2K has also developed a smartwatch, called MotionSense, which is capable of tracking a person’s heart rate variability by deciphering their arm movements. They’ve also developed another wearable, called EasySense, which measures lung fluid volume and heart activity through the use of a micro-radar sensor worn near the chest.

The MD2K tools, software and training materials are available to use by researchers and clinicians, and the technology is expected to make a significant impact in the wearable market in the future.

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