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    Digital OB/GYN: The Internet of Things: Connectivity to improve lives


    Real-world examples

    Photos courtesy Rest Devices, Inc.

    One of my favorite real-world examples of IoT integration is Mimo, the brainchild of MIT engineers who are focused on helping to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Their proprietary Mimo kimono (a soft cotton onesie) sends an instantaneous notification to parents’ phones when a baby wakes up or has a change in breathing pattern, position, or skin temperature.3 In fact, the Mimo can tell if the baby is sleeping on his or her front or back and parents can use the device as a live audio monitor.

    So how is Mimo part of the IoT? Well, the integrated sensor (which Mimo calls the Turtle), sends information about the baby’s breathing, position, sleep activity, and skin temperature to a receiver (which Mimo calls the Lilypad). The Lilypad streams data and live audio to the cloud where it is then accessed by a smartphone. Gone are the days of a walkie-talkie-style baby monitor; now we can all access real-time data about our babies!

    A great example of an IoT device for adults is the BodyGuardian Heart Remote Monitoring System, which wirelessly collects real-time data about cardiac arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation, tachycardia, bradycardia, pause, and others.4 This small sensor can be discretely worn and programmed with thresholds for each patient, allowing for individualized monitoring and care plan support. Ultimately, this device allows practitioners to access their patients’ data and review notifications securely anytime, anywhere via the web through a secure portal.

    Photos courtesy Preventice Services

    What about the non-medical examples that Gross predicted? Well, I’ve been using a smart outlet for months, and I am hooked! Smart outlets are commercially available from companies like Belkin, whose WeMo allows you to instantly turn on and off any plugged-in device from across the world or just your living room via a smartphone app.5 The devices not only save money and conserve energy over time by eliminating standby power, they provide data about the power usage of any device which can, in turn, be used to help increase its operating lifespan through more efficient use and scheduling.

    Furthermore, with WeMo, users can access IFTTT, an app that lets you create powerful connections with one simple statement: “If this, then that.” Using almost any data source on the web to act as a WeMo trigger, users can create customized automation rules and schedules to fit their personal preferences. For example, users can turn off the lights in their apartment by saying “Siri, lights please,” lights can be turned off by sending a text message, or someone can build a trigger to open the pet door for the dog at sunrise or shut off the lights and close the electric blinds in the office whenever the computer is turned off.6

    Other companies have systems that can monitor and automatically water plants remotely using connected sensors, alert municipal services when a trash bin needs to be emptied, or notify authorities when a fire extinguisher is blocked, missing from its designated location or its pressure falls below safe operating levels. The potential for integrating the IoT into our daily workflow is limitless!

    Next: Safety concerns >>

    Brian A. Levine, MD, MS, FACOG
    Dr. Levine is Practice Director at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, New York, New York.


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