This weekend, Springwise.com offers interesting findings in health and wellness news While health services such as the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Canada have invested in humanoid robots to calm children down during visits, our latest spotting is offering a similar idea, but this time for the home. Teddy the Guardian is a soft toy that is embedded with sensors and delivers data on babies’ vital signs in a fun and playful way.
Developed by health marketer Josipa Majic and business graduate Ana Burica, the toy looks like a standard soft bear from the outside, but features sensors that can detect vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and body temperature. Parents can get their child to hold the bear’s hand, or place its paw on their forehead in order to take a reading. The data is then sent wirelessly to parents’ smartphones, enabling them to check their child’s health and keep a record over time, without having to take trips to the doctor’s. As the creators point out, those trips can cause stress and lead to false readings, but Teddy the Guardian allows parents to take readings in the comfort of their own home and share this with doctors later on.
The bear is made of Croatian wool and has received approval from the FDA and CE. Parents can pre-order Teddy the Guardian for USD 69 for delivery in October 2013. Are there other ways to disguise potentially distressing medical exams to ensure kids remain healthy?
Meanwhile, Cancer Research UK’s ClicktoCure platform has already enabled anyone to help out researchers by analyzing their data. Putting a gamification twist on this concept, GeneGame challenges users to form the best combinations of genes – aiding research in the area in the process.
Created by games developer Guerilla Tea at a Cancer Research UK hackathon in March, the game is based on the fact that researchers have reams of data about genes and their role in diseases such as cancer. In order to produce reliable results from these datasets, it’s necessary to combine at least 25 different variables each time for each human gene – of which there are around 20,000. Rather than leaving this job up to researchers alone, the GeneGame app turns these combinations into winning ‘hands’ that the player has to build using their knowledge or searching the web for answers. The best players get to show off their knowledge through league placings, which researchers can then use to find out the players that are producing the most reliable datasets.
Although the game requires a certain knowledge of genes and how they relate to diseases, the GeneGame shows how scientists could develop platforms to engage the public in research that benefits society while competing with friends. Are there other fields of research – medical or otherwise – that could be gamified?