The first bit of news is that Microsoft has unveiled its first wearable device that can track a user’s sleep and exercise as well as connect to a health service on smartphones. The Microsoft Band will retail for $199 (£125) on the company’s online store. The device can operate for two days on a single charge and has 10 sensors that can track heart rate, calories, stress and even a person’s sun exposure. The second bit of news via the Sydney Morning Herald is that video game maker Nintendo has said it will work with Australian medical device company ResMed, best known for its products that reduce snoring, on a consumer health product that tracks quality of sleep. Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata told a briefing that the device would be the first offering from the Japanese company’s newly created health division. “By using our know-how in gaming… to analyse sleep and fatigue, we can create something fun,” Iwata said, according to Reuters.
Apart from snide comments that the SuperMario Brothers will be replaced by the Farrell brothers, it raises the question where is the actual validation data for all this long line of devices from Fitbit, Jawbone and Super Mario. Patients arrive in clinics bearing downloads of % of deep and light sleep inquiring as to have to improve these per-cents. We already know the limitation of actimetry devices used in research but someone the consumer protection regulators re not around to sort of the various claims of these devices. Rumour has it that Rupert Murdoch hands out Fitbits to his friends saying he uses one – perhaps his journalists can agitate for a bit of evidence for their value.
There is no doubt that e-health and wearables are here to stay but we need stronger science to back up their value. Should clinicians who actually talk to patients and make diagnoses start packing up ? I doubt it but we are definitely going to have to pick and choose what devices make a difference to our patients and the general health consumer.