The focus on making medical advancements has led to a rise in technology that can be used in many different spheres. Just like the development of materials for the space program led to things like memory foam mattress toppers, medical advances are also impacting product development in the consumer realm. The creation of apps, 3D printing, and even advanced agricultural practices has led to a surge in consumer and medical products. Here are just some of the ways that medicine, technology, and consumer products have merged to impact product development.
You thought smart watches were just a fad. But these pedometers on steroids have grown into something far more useful in the medical realm. Wearable technology is a powerful tool for many people. Think about managing diabetes or tracking heart rates or oxygen levels. It used to be that every time you wanted to see what was going on you needed to get hooked up to devices or pricked with a needle to draw blood.
Some doctors are now using wearable technology not just to help the patients monitor and treat their diseases, but also for the doctor to have hard data without needing to rely on a patient to write everything down. Now if they want to know how their patients’ blood sugars have been over time, they can get data from the cloud that was measured using wearable technology.
Stem Cells in Consumer Products
Stem cells have been used for a couple of decades to manage and treat dozens of diseases. Researchers have been looking at all the different ways to reprogram cells for use in helping people get better. By identifying stem cells and looking at how they function, product developers have made breakthroughs in skincare and other innovations. You can now buy a stem cell moisturizer that was created thanks in part to critical medical advances.
One of the most interesting technologies that has applications in many different industries, 3D printing in medicine is impacting other areas. While scientists continue to look for ways to 3D print vital organs to help people get off the transplant list, 3D printing is already being used in pharmaceuticals to create products like children’s medications. They use the technology to create vitamins and prescriptions that are shaped like dinosaurs. This makes taking medications more palatable to children who need them.
Lab Grown Food
Food scarcity is a problem in many parts of the world. Drought, natural disasters, and infrastructure all contribute to this problem. Food cannot be grown everywhere. One solution is to use technology to create lab grown meat. In the consumer realm, companies are already looking for ways to create foods that are nutrient dense, but can be made more cost-effectively. Foods like Beyond Meat use a similar technology to make their vegan meat substitute.
Virtual Reality in Healthcare
Virtual reality has many applications. On the one hand, it’s been used in gaming to create more immersive play experiences. People who use VR headsets find themselves and their senses to be more engaged in the activities on the screen. Virtual reality is making its way into business and medicine as well. Companies are starting to use VR technology to have more engaging meetings for their remote staff. And in medicine, doctors are using the technology to assess patients, including those with advanced diseases like breast cancer.
Medical companies are leveraging smartphone technology to create apps that serve both a consumer and a healthcare purpose. Patients can download apps that track just about anything. Whether they need to monitor their blood pressure daily, or take medication at certain times of day, apps can serve to remind and collect important data. More advanced medical needs mean better app development and ultimately better devices to handle the critical data.
Medical advances are making robotic devices more commonplace. One of the first robotic devices used in homes was a vacuum. Who wouldn’t want to have clean floors while they sleep? The need for more medical robotics for use as a helper for the disabled or elderly, and for prosthetics is making these items easier to obtain and more mainstream. As the healthcare industry continues to have a need for these devices, they will show up as consumer products on shelves as well.