By Pari Syal
Photography: Courtesy Fuse Project
Healthcare and technology are old bedfellows. Here’s the latest breakthrough - a diagnostic accessory that offers cloud-based health care…
Each of us, sometime or the other, have gone through the heartbreak of not having a doctor within reach, when needed most. Combating this need with technology, the Gates Foundation and Wired Magazine asked design firm, Fuse Project to create a concept for a diagnostic health care device that would adequately fulfill both, diagnosis and treatment issues in the absence of a doctor.
Clearly addressing the issue for regions, where the nearest doctor is days away by foot, making preventive care impossible, the firm designed ‘Kernel’ - a specific solution to the complications of treating chronic illnesses in the developing world, malaria in particular.
Kernel, designed as a small device, easy to handle, worn around the neck, is a Bluetooth-connected diagnostic amulet. It's four-quadrant bio-sensing micro-perforated, absorbent pad, allows users to test their blood, saliva, urine and breath - red for blood, yellow for urine, blue for saliva and green for breath.
Designed to work with a wide range of standard handsets and smart phones, Kernel test results are transmitted via Bluetooth to a mobile app to doctors for remote health consultations, allowing patients to be continuously monitored remotely via the cloud, with reminders such as medicine intake or doctor’s visits.
The upside of the device is that it is almost zero maintenance. When it slides shut, a built-in sterilizing surface cleans the sampling pad. Kernel has no moving parts. However, the sampling pad necessitates periodic replacement to avoid possible breakdowns. Otherwise, it is relatively hassle-free and needs to be charged only every fortnight.
The downside is the sensors required for the device aren't currently cheap or robust enough for a wearable device, but Fuse Project believes they will be in five to ten years. So the wait is going to be a long one.