The Digital Health Companion (DHC) project is a spin-off initiative funded by the research transfer program of the German federal government. We are developing an automatic smartwatch-based health assistant.
Across the population, the careful treatment of one’s own body comes to the fore: Many people monitor not only their exercise statistics, but also daily activities and vital data, as well as take part in prevention programs offered by their health insurance companies, and even invest in health care measures beyond their sporting achievements. The targeted monitoring, improvement, and risk prevention of one’s own health has so far been inconvenient and associated with considerable effort. Medical devices are expensive and offer limited acquisition of body data. Cheap commercial equipment like fitness trackers are also limited to individual parameters such as steps and calories. Smartphone health monitoring apps, in turn, require special attachments or rely on the manual recording of data.
Building upon many years of research, Fraunhofer IGD has developed powerful algorithms for evaluating and fusing sensor data that automatically record and classify movement and vital data patterns with high accuracy. For the first time, current smartwatch models offer many of the sensors required for these purposes and thus allow additional parameters to be recorded using the vital signs registered at the wrist.
We are taking this opportunity to bring a feature-rich and comfortable healthcare assistant to market maturity – by optimizing our algorithms for continuous use on multiple smartwatches, validating pattern recognition with medical partners, and implementing device software and management systems based on extensive user testing. Implementing different recognition modules allows a dynamic adaptation of the functional scope for each user group: from automatically recording daily activities and monitoring health risks, to activating emergency monitoring and locating, for example, in high-risk sports.
We are thus creating a universal health assistant that can be used in a wide variety of applications.