Smart watches are, for lack of better words, pretty rad. As are smart phones, houses, and pretty much every other smart thing in the internet of things landscape. But the coolest part about the IoT is the way that it has changed medical care. Sure, there is a lot of snake oil out there: fraudulent apps that promise to help you lose weight and quit smoking through hypnosis, for example. But there are legitimate ones too. Take this “Smart Sleeve” for instance, which is so much cooler than a Smart Watch.
The wireless M-Mark system is an initiative at the University of Southampton that aims to track muscle movement in patients recovering from strokes. Physical therapists can then review the data on tablets and better monitor patient progress. It is a huge leap in physical rehabilitation.
According to Professor Jane Burridge, who leads the team behind the sleeve, about 150,000 people in the UK suffer from strokes every year. Of those victims, about 40% who experience moderate to severe strokes will not recover functional use of their arm or hand. “We hope that our sleeve will help stroke patients regain the use of their arm and hand, reduce time spent with therapists and allow them to have the recommended 45 minutes daily therapy more flexibly," says Burridge. "It will also be used to assess patients’ problems accurately as well as more cheaply and practically than using laboratory-based technologies."
If the technology proves to be effective, we may soon see it used in other types of treatment. The M-Mark basically uses sensors to detect muscle contractions, making it potentially applicable to other types of trauma. And, hey, maybe it can help me with the weird muscle cramp I get in my hand when I spend too much consecutive time texting. What a time to be alive.