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Digital Healthcare & Technology at the Heart of Las Vegas CES 2020

Jul 14, 2020 | By ITRI

Photo courtesy of CENSPhoto courtesy of CENS
■ Hubert Chih

The number of healthcare exhibitors at the 2020 CES in Las Vegas increased significantly by 23% from 2019. According to the analysis and report by the CES organizer, digital healthcare and technology were the focus in the healthcare exhibition. In addition to the continued expansion of healthcare coverage, the reduction of healthcare costs, the improvement of effectiveness and the promotion of medical developments, digital healthcare is having a more all-encompassing impact on our lives. This was the reason for the CES's official slogan “Digital Health Becomes a Lifestyle”.

According to the observations of the Industrial Technology Research Institute, the 2020 Digital Health Summit at CES highlighted three trends: (1) the gradual deployment of digital technology (including AI) in healthcare; (2) the ongoing discovery of health needs in different domains, and the connectivity and integration of biological data across domains; (3) health requirements from individuals and family members are increasingly being covered by digital healthcare.

Evolution of New Technologies in Telehealth
Digital technologies such as AI and VR have been increasingly applied in healthcare over recent years. The CES 2020 show revealed its continued evolution in existing domains. For example, the Korean start-up WELT Corp. launched SMART BELT PRO that monitors the risk of falling by measuring and analyzing the gait information such as speed, symmetry and strength. This smart wearable device uses AI to estimate and reduce the risk of falling by coming up with suggestions to adjust the gait pattern.

The U.S. company MedWand Solutions showcased its toolkit equipped with 10 remote diagnostic features and patient management platform for assisting doctors to diagnose remotely. This product, scheduled to get the FDA approval in May 2020, is targeted at medical institutions, who will provide these kits to their customers and offer medical support online.

Meanwhile, senior healthcare is also drawing attention. The U.S. company Caregiver Smart Solution demonstrated its solution “Let Them Age in Place”, a response to the wish of seniors to spend their later years at home. This system uses non-image sensors to collect data on home activities and establish behavior profiles of the seniors. This is then compared by AI against real-time data and movement patterns to determine whether assistance or rescue is required to intervene in the current activities of the seniors concerned and whether it is necessary to inform caregivers or family members to take action.

This solution circumvents the potential concern for privacy by not using images to stay on top of the day-to-day home activities of seniors, so that they do not feel they are being watched and will be more willing to use it. Meanwhile, their children or family members out working or not living with the seniors are able to keep an eye on the seniors at any time.

Healthcare extended to the automotive space
Health needs are expanding from individuals and residences to automobiles. One of the most eye-catching exhibitors at CES 2020 was Byton, a new electric vehicle player fromChina. The company showcased its M-Byte concept car with an in-vehicle system integrating Garmin's health management system. The Taiwanese start-up Mindtronic also displayed its latest product, Cockpit DMX. This is an in-vehicle platform powered by AI, capable of monitoring the driver's physiological status via image recognition.

Meanwhile, as COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, the impact of the air quality in the enclosed spaces of cars on health has become a hot topic. The Chinese automaker Geely recently announced its R&D campaign for health in cars, by preventing external air pollution and purifying the air in the car in order to keep the virus at bay. In fact, in 2015 Tesla launched their HEPA air filter in Bioweapon Defense Mode for both Model X and Model S, to block particulate matter in the polluted air. Digital health in the automobile domain is still in its infancy, and there is plenty of room for growth.

Psychological issues is getting valued
The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed a heavy blow on people living already stressful lives. Spiritual issues were also one of the highlights at CES 2020. In one CES 2020 seminar, Samsung demonstrated that its smart watches could keep tracking of the users' moods, assist in meditation and restore calmness. The Taiwanese start-up Hipposcreen Neurotech launched its Stress EEG Assessment System to help doctors assess the level of stress felt by patients via EEG evaluations. This system provides objective data for the determination of melancholia. Clinical trials are set to start this year.

More and more people are keeping pets, and these pets are being treated as family members. At CES 2020, Samsung launched Ballie, a ball-shaped companion robot. One of its functions is to assist in taking care of pets. If the pet knocks over their food tray, Ballie will automatically send out the robot cleaner. Meanwhile, LuLu Pet, the Taiwanese start-up and the winner of the CES 2020 Innovation Award, launched an AI smart cat litter box, to stay on top of the cat's health by analyzing its weight change and urine and feces. Timely reminders will be provided to the owner if a visit to the veterinarian is in order.

In sum, the 2020 Digital Health Summit at CES demonstrated the achievements of applying AI and other new technologies in the optimization of healthcare products and services. It was also a testament to the ambition of the CES organizer and exhibitors in the development of new domains in digital health technology. The vision is to develop a comprehensive full-time healthcare coverage for all people and families.

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