CES 2021 took place this past week, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the annual electronics megashow show was completely virtual. While we certainly missed the free swag, a chance with lady luck at the Vegas casino tables, and the opportunity to reunite with many of you Medgadget readers, there were still a good deal of medical and health technology announcements this year. Here’s a round-up of some of the notable products we encountered.
In the age of COVID-19, face coverings have become a hot medical gadget and a new fashion trend. We saw no shortage of masks of all sorts while roaming the virtual show floor.
Razer Project Hazel
AirPop announced a face wearable called the Active+. It’s a cloth mask with a unique sensor that monitors your own breathing patterns from inside the mask and provides information on air quality from outside the mask. One company, Nexvoo, announced a face mask called Breeze that’s transparent to show off your smile. It has two silent fans that both circulate and filter the air, and a UV light to automatically disinfect the mask while it’s charging. Finally, Razer, a company most known for their gamer products, made a somewhat bizarre reveal with “Project Hazel,” a smart mask that’s transparent, features active ventilation to circulate and filter the air, and also contains a bulit-in microphone and amp to make your speech a little more clear. And it lights up in 16.8 million different colors!
Healthier At Home
The coronavirus pandemic has also accelerated the growth of telemedicine products that allow consumers to better monitor their health at home.
We recently wrote about VitalSight by Omron, a system that connects an Omron blood pressure monitor and weight scale to a clinical EMR via a special wireless hub.
Sunrise, whose CEO we interviewed last month, was recognized a CES 2021 Innovation Awards Honoree at the show for their non-invasive wearable sensor to test for sleep apnea at home.
A French company called Baracoda announced a cool-looking wellness device called Themis. It’s a smart mirror with an integrated display that has cameras and sensors to perform temperature checks, display health information, and even do a skin analysis with personalized makeup suggestions.
One of the most intriguing new sensors we came across was a prototype glucose monitor from a Tokyo startup called Quantum Operation. Worn around the wrist like a smartwatch, the company claims to be able to continuously monitor glucose without needles; it’s accomplished with new spectrometry tech that involves light penetrating through the skin to the bloodstream, not unlike SpO2 monitoring. Color us a little skeptical at the moment, but such a device could be a game changer, so we’re hoping for more promising data!
Cuffless Blood Pressure Measurement
We were somewhat surprised to see several companies marketing various forms of cuffless blood pressure monitoring, a technology that has been researched for many years, but still has not yet found its way into mainstream medical devices.
The most tenable product was from Valencell, whom we’ve followed for many years and whose biometric sensor technology is already used in many devices. They announced a calibration-free, cuffless blood pressure technology that can be used in wearables on the finger, wrist, and ear.
Not to be outdone, Swiss company Leman Microdevices announced their V-sensor technology which can be incorporated into a smartphone to measure blood pressure and other vitals by simply placing a finger over the sensor. And another Swiss company, Biospectal, claims that their software can accurately measure blood pressure using the camera on a run-of-the-mill Samsung Galaxy smartphone!
Everything Else Cool and Weird
CES wouldn’t be CES without weird gadgets, and we always look forward to seeing some of the unique, niche products out there.
One defice we came across was the Sleep Robot from Somnox in the Netherlands. The Sleep Robot is a device that you sleep with; it contains sensors to measure your breathing and help generate its own “breathing pattern” that your body will mimic to help fall asleep faster. It can also play soothing music and sounds for even more relaxation. With a cozy smart device like a Sleep Robot, who needs a little spoon anymore?
Our pick for this year’s most interesting medical gadget at CES is a wearable from Minnesota based Morari Medical to help with male sexual dysfunction. It’s a wearable neurostimulator patch that is applied to the perineum and activated with a Bluetooth wireless device. The electrical signals from the patch slow nerve transmissions that can cause premature ejaculation. It’s been humorously nicknamed the “taint bandaid” by other media sources, but know that PE is a legitimate medical condition estimated to affect 30% of men worldwide.
Though plenty of what we see at CES every year is overly opulent, useless, or just plain bizarre, it’s always a fun show to attend with products that consumers are more likely to spend our money on. We look forward to hearing more about these products and more throughout 2021, taint bandaid included.