The best health tech unveiled at CES 2019
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the biggest event of its kind. Kicking off the start of each year in the glitzy land of Las Vegas, the tech convention is renowned for bringing us the latest cutting-edge innovation set to shape the year ahead.
This year was no exception, with big announcements from the likes of industry giants Samsung, Sony, and LG. But it’s not just about the glamorous product launches. Like every January, CES also provides a stage for up and coming innovators from around the globe to showcase their latest products before they hit the mainstream. This year was no exception, and the health and fitness space was one area in which we saw some truly promising announcements.
With that, here are some of the most groundbreaking health tech that came out of 2019’s show, all of which you can expect to hear more of in the coming months.
Hearing health: Starkey Livio AI smart hearing-aid
This iPhone-connected hearing aid boasts a companion iOS application, AirPods-style tap gestures, and a host of intelligent sensors for health tracking.
Using an app called Thrive Hearing to report physical activity data, the smart hearing aid touts fall detection and alerts, heart rate measurement, and an Alexa-style virtual voice-activated assistant. These additions turn the hearing aid into less of an accessory and more of a self-contained wellness platform.
Smart medication: Pillo Health pill dispenser
One thing that the older generations tend to do often is forget when to take their medication. Pillo has been built to help when this happens. The virtual healthcare assistant is made to sit on the side at home and look after their user with scheduled reminders, which cause the device to wake up, scan the room for an individual and alert them it’s time to take their pills. The user can then opt for Pillo to dispense it, and it will do so, giving them the right meds at the right time. However, if the user refuses to take their medication for a set period of time, Pillo will alert their care team, be it a doctor or family member, and establish a live video link so they can ask them why.
Pillo also acts a an Alexa-style smart assistant and provides all the medical information you’d ever need, kind of like a smart doctor.
Agility and mobility training: Halo Sport 2 headphones
The Halo Sport 2 is a new pair of headphones designed to make your training or practice more efficient by improving your brain’s natural plasticity. By applying a mild-electric field to the motor cortex, Halo’s Neuropriming technology is said to induce a state of “hyperplasticity”. This is apparently because when you train in a hyperplastic state, the brain’s normal fine-tuning process occurs more rapidly — meaning better results from each practice rep.
Essentially, this set of headphones speeds up the learning process or skill acquisition, improves movement efficiency (which decreases the ‘cost’ of exercise energetically and load wise), and therefore means more efficient, less physically taxing training for better results. They are also a lot less painful to wear than they look…
Stress reduction: TouchPoint stress relievers
Stress can have a massive impact on our daily lives if not managed well, and cause all sorts of physical symptoms if left untreated. These Touchpoint vibrating wearables aim to reduce stress by taking advantage of bi-lateral stimulation, or haptic vibrations, which can be emitted at three different intensities. is said to relieve stress. Developed by neuropsychologist Amy Serin, the idea is that can reduce the physical effects of stress by over 70% in just 30 seconds, by slowing your heartbeat.
To prove its vibrating wearables actually worked, TouchPoint gave us a brain scan both before and after using them for a few minutes. And as you can see from the data below, they managed to reduce the levels of stress (in red) on the right frontal lobe quite significantly.
Strength training: JAXJOX KettlebellConnect
Just about everything is connected in the gym these days, so why leave out the kettlebell? It might have a strange name, but JaxJox’s £300 smart kettlebell was one of the most impressive bits of kit on show at CES this year. As you’d expect, it’ll keep track of your reps, sets and workout time through a connected app thanks to built-in 6 axis motion sensors, which track your every movement with accuracy, keeping a record of your reps, sets and workout time through a connected app.
Innetween use, pop it on its charging base and you can rejuice it as well as change its weight from between 6kg and 20kg, so no need to buy multiple units. A fitness fanatic’s dream come true.
Sleep aid: Somnox Sleep Robot
Startup Somnox has created a connected, peanut-shaped pillow that it calls the Sleep Robot, something it says will help you to sleep faster, longer and wake up more refreshed. It does this by imitating the rise and fall motion of a slowly-breathing chest, which in turn relaxes you, slows your breathing to the same rate and thus focuses your attention while playing soothing sounds.
Baby health: Willow smart breast pump
Not something you’d expect to see everyday, this smart, hands-free breast pump allows mums to get on with their day without being tethered to a wall while they squeeze out their baby’s next meal.
There’s no external tubes, cords, or dangling bottles and the two cups simply slip inside a bra and allow the user to walk around. It also has a companion iOS/Android app to track how much liquid has been collected, which is stored inside in small, freezable pouches.
Cardio training: FightCamp
If you’re a keen boxer, to want to try boxing for the first time but don’t want to bother with a gym or ClassPass membership, FightCamp might be worth a look. The smart home boxing system is designed for punching it out at home and includes a punching bag, gloves, hand wraps and an exercise mat. However, what makes it special is that the gloves are fitting with a connected sensor that is able to record every hit and feed back to you a score via an app
There’s also a monthly service package available that gives you access to FightCamp workouts via the iOS app. However, there’s no Android app at this time.
Heart health: Chronolife heart-sensing connected vest
French health tech firm Chronolife used CES as a means to show off its super smart vest that aims to help those who are diagnosed with chronic or congestive heart failure (CHF). The connected vest does its job by measuring six key physiological stats in real time, and combined with machine learning, will predict the likelihood of an oncoming heart attack.
This is some serious bit of kit, however, Chronolife plans to sell it to researchers, insurance companies and healthcare providers as opposed to consumers.
Resistance training: HiiGa One
Changing weights on the bench press at the gym between sets can be time consuming, and slightly annoying, especially when performing something like pyramid sets, for instance.
Well, the Hiiga One is a smart way of automating this process. It’s basically a high-tech barbell rack that sets resistance for you. It consists of two giant side supports and a weight-lifting bar, but it’s powered by an artificial intelligence system that chooses resistance levels based on your own strength levels, meaning there’s no need to load and unload weights like you would in a normal gym. Look out for this one hitting a gym near you very soon.
Skin health: Comper EMS skin
This handheld device claims to be the future of skin care. Using radio frequency, Low-Level-Light-Laser Therapy, electro muscle stimulation and micro vibrational massage tech, it can assess, and then treat, the skin on your face with a goal to firm up your chops and remove fatty cells, reduce acne and any other skin irritations. It generates a slight tingling sensation during use, which was stronger than we were expecting but not at all painful. After use, your results are uploaded to the Smarkin’s connected app, Comper Health, where you can view details about your skin.