Bathrooms of the future could soon be transformed into lifesaving devices.
Google’s latest patent describes using ultrasonic bathtubs, pressure sensing toilet seats and other devices to monitor people’s cardiovascular health.
This new technology would embed noninvasive health-monitoring devices in bathrooms that ‘sense’ the person’s health and notify a professional if necessary.
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Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that occur in the body when narrowed or blocked blood vessels form, which can lead to heart attacks, chest pains or stroke.
And according to the American Heart Associate, this condition is linked to one of every four deaths in the US, which is about 610,000 Americans each year.
The search engine’s latest patent, filed in January 2015, describes technology that determines the ‘functional states and trends for human physiological systems’ in order to catch life threatening states before it is too late.
`Various noninvasive health monitors can be used to sense a person’s health,’ reads the application title ‘Noninvasive Determination of Cardiac Health and Other Functional States and Trends for Human Physiological Systems, which was published on July 21, 2016.
‘With these trends, a person can know if the effort they are expanding to improve their heart health is actually making a difference’.
The patent begins by setting up the environment for the futuristic, lifesaving bathroom that includes a pressure and electrical-sensing mat, colour-sensing mirror and an ultrasonic bathtub.
Each of these devices would provide a remote server or computing device, such as a fitness band or laptop, with sensor data in the form of sound waves or electrical signals.
Although the patent is focused on cardiovascular disease, Google isn’t limiting the technology and says it can be used for other physiological systems like the nervous, endocrine, muscular, skeletal and integumentary systems.
Another device is a colour sensing mirror that records colours in a person’s skin to determine a photo plethysmograph, which measures variations in a size or colour of an organ or limb.
The ultrasonic bathtub is setup to generate high frequency sound waves and gather an echo from these waves in order to investigate the internal body structure blood flow, tissue movement, and could create 3D measurements of the internal structure.
And a radar field device would reflect radiation from human tissue to measure skin temperature, heart rate, and skeletal movement, among others.
If the technology detects problems in the patient’s health, it will then alter their medical professional before the functional state exceeds a safety threshold.
The line between pharmaceuticals and technology is blurring as companies join forces to tackle chronic diseases using high-tech devices that combine biology, software and hardware.
Google has been working in the healthcare industry for some time now and its most recent venture is a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline, a New Jersey firm that researches and develops products in pharmaceuticals, vaccines and consumer healthcare.
The duo plans to market bioelectronic devices to fight illness by attaching to individual nerves.