Dartmouth developing device-controlling wristwatch

More and more mobile health apps have popped up over the past few years, promising to help patients regulate weight and log treatments. But researchers at Dartmouth College are plotting something more all-encompassing: a wrist-mounted device that can regulate and interact with other medical techs, like insulin pumps and implants.

The tech, called Amulet, is designed to communicate wirelessly with other therapeutic devices, logging vital signs and serving as a sort of headquarters for a patient's health. Ideally, the watch will be able to detect bodily changes, like a drop in blood pressure, and be able to communicate with a separate device to handle the issue, Dartmouth's team told Popular Mechanics.

"The applications we're envisioning are as automated as possible," head researcher Jacob Sorber told the magazine. "We want [medical aid] to happen directly and automatically."

While intriguing, that model carries an inherent risk: If the communication between Amulet and, say, an insulin pump gets garbled or interrupted, patients could be harmed or killed. Sorber and his team are aware of the risks, he said, and they're working to beef up the tech's security to prevent such lapses.

The scientists are at work at producing an Amulet prototype, basing it off the Motorola MotoActv wristwatch, and they plan to integrate user-authentication technology that can detect whether the right patient is wearing the device.

- check out the researchers' paper (PDF)
- get more from Popular Mechanics

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