Microsoft throws down gauntlet in health wearable sector


New products will take health monitoring to new levels and even save lives

Microsoft intends to become the leader in advanced wearable technology for healthcare and medicine, according to Leila Martine, Microsoft product marketing director of New Device Experience.

Speaking at the Mobile News ‘Wearables and Accessories’ conference held in London last week, Martine said:
“[Microsoft chief executive] Satya Nadella was in London last week and brought us back to our heritage about helping every person and company to achieve more.”

Microsoft, she said, was designing wearable devices which could take advanced biometrics to a new level and monitor complex cardio functionality such as VO2 max – the maximum amount of oxygen that can be removed from circulating blood and used by the body during a specified period.

Powerful technology
“Other than wearing the Microsoft Band, the only other way to get a VO2 Max rating is to go to a clinic or specialist that will require you to wear an oxygen mask and run on a treadmill.

“That is powerful technology, and where the consumerisation of this technology is great [is that] you’re going to get  people doing a better job of tracking symptoms,” she told the conference.

Premium device
“The Microsoft Band has 11 sensors in an incredibly small device. It’s a premium device with a lot of technology. We want to open up access to it across iOS, Android, as well as Windows Phone.

“It is also open to developers through the Microsoft Health platform. It will serve up basic information from whether you slept well or not, to monitoring beat-to-beat heart-rate variability”

She told how Dr David Plans, lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Surrey, now uses a Microsoft Band to monitor his health after passing out at Brussels Airport, and “dying” for a few minutes before being revived by paramedics.

“He then thought about what he could do for himself in terms of artificial intelligence and predictive wellness,” Martine said.

“He looked at 20 different wearable products and wanted our product, because it has features, such as heart-rate variability.

“That is what causes the real stress that is happening to your body.”

Microsoft was also now  engaged with NHS Poole, in Dorset, to discover how wearables can monitor patients with epilepsy to help them predict when they may have an epileptic fit.