The Internet-of-Things is an emerging revolution in the ICT sector under which there is shift from an “Internet used for interconnecting end-user devices” to an “Internet used for interconnecting physical objects that communicate with each other and/or with humans in order to offer a given service”. This includes everything from cellphones [to] coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, and wearable devices.
The next revolution is “Internet of Living Things (IoLT),” or the “Internet of Bodies,” the set of networks that includes wearable sensors like Fitbits, intelligent implants inside and outside our bodies, brain-computer interfaces, and even portable DNA sequencers are connected to internet sending information to the cloud. While IoT is transforming a wide range of civilian activities by improving their productivity, efficiency, and profitability, the Internet of Living Things (IoLT),” or the “Internet of Bodies shall produce life-saving innovations and improve human health.
All Apple Watches can monitor heart rhythm, and the new Apple Watch Series 4 can also take an electrocardiogram — just like you would get at the hospital — to provide your doctor with detailed heart health information. This Watch can now track heart rhythm in addition to heart rate, and by identifying irregular heart rhythms, it can warn you of potentially dangerous heart problems, like arterial fibrillation. The Apple Watch Series 4 uses its accelerometer and gyroscope to tell if you’ve fallen. If the watch detects a fall, It asks if you’re okay — and if you don’t respond, it calls emergency services and sends text messages to your emergency contacts.
And while heart rate has become easy to monitor with fitness trackers, blood pressure monitors usually take the form of large, awkward cuffs. But now blood pressure tracking comes in a wearable with Omron’s HeartGuide, a sleek smartwatch that wouldn’t look out off place on anyone’s wrist. HeartGuide will track your blood pressure over time and offer insights on what your blood pressure means for your health. And like any good wearable, it will track heart rate, steps, sleep, and other health stats so you can monitor how your blood pressure fits into your overall health.
Breitling Emergency calls for help when there’s no cell signal to be found. It hides a personal emergency beacon that’s been miniaturized to fit seamlessly inside a watch. These emergency beacons send messages vis satellite, telling local emergency services that you’re in trouble and giving your location. Satellite service means you can get help no matter where you are.
Right now, monitoring blood sugar at home requires you to prick your finger for a blood sample, which you can then test with a home glucose monitor. But K’Watch is developing a continuous glucose monitor that looks just like a smartwatch. Instead of the standard blood test, K’Watch has a biosensor patch on the back of the work that measures glucose levels painlessly through the skin. The patch needs to be replaced every seven days, but that’s still more convenient than the endless lancets and test strips required for standard home testing. Because it’s monitoring your blood sugar levels all the time, K’Watch will let you know if your blood sugar is dangerously high or low, and keep track of your data so you can show your doctor.
In the future, the computers will become so tiny they can be embedded under the skin, implanted inside the body, or integrated into a contact lens and stuck on top of your eyeball. The gadgets like smartphones, smartwatches, augmented glasses, virtual reality headgear, and the myriad other devices shall merge humans and the internet. These wifi enabled machines shall make it feasible that anything you can do with your phone now you could do with your gaze or gestures in a few decades.
The embedded microchips shall monitor every body function keeping tabs on our personal health, prevent or treat disease, and maybe even live longer. Smart contact lenses are being developed to monitor glucose levels and could eliminate the daily blood sugar pinprick for people with diabetes.
Portable genomic sequencers in our pockets and cell phones would become part of our networks of sensors—what we already call the Internet of things (IoT). MinION of Oxford Nanopore Technologies, genomic sequencer, is as small as a USB-stick and easy to use. Oxford Nanopore has designed an intelligent cloud lab, Metrichor, to be used for genomics data storage in conjunction with smartphone apps that interpret the meaning of DNA sequences. Researchers around the world now use pocket-size genomic sequencers to rapidly detect resistant pathogenic strains in hospitals, and diagnose infectious agents in food supply and aboard spaceships (the device works in microgravity)
The Google-powered Project Baseline declares, “We’ve mapped the world. Now let’s map human health.” The private tech sector is also enabling most of the positive benefits that AI can and will usher in for individuals and societies, from helping to predict natural disasters to finding new warning signs for disease outbreaks.
Privacy, safety and cyber security concerns
However, monitoring and sifting through human behaviors and physiology on such a grand scale, also has downsides. As smart devices in health care evolve, the line between human and machine is blurring and creating new concerns about consumer safety and privacy rights. It also raises serious concerns regarding cybersecurity, privacy and sensitive data protection. This also opens the door to scams, cons, cybercrime, and exploitation of people’s personal data—everything that’s already happening on the web today, but magnified.
The privacy which is already heavily compromised by social media companies down would be completely dead in the future. The revelation that Facebook made the private data of about 87 million of its users available to the Trump campaign has fueled new levels of public anxiety about the ability of tech giants to exploit our personal information.
In the future, you could even have an artificial lens implanted in your eye to correct your vision, but such lenses could also one day record everything you see. Bluetooth-equipped electronic pills are being developed to monitor the inner workings of your body, but they could eventually broadcast what you’ve eaten or whether you’ve taken drugs. And while you can restore hearing with a cochlear implant, be aware that it could log data on the audio environment surrounding you. Or film everything they do and say without their permission or knowledge.
Beyond, melding of man and machine also conjures up Big Brother fears of the government tracking your every move. Now NSA could not only read your email, or hear phone conversations but also measure your pulse as well, or record our DNA. It’s been reported that in China, the pictures and saliva samples of students have been collected on campus to feed a database of faces and genomes. One Chinese facial recognition software company, Cloud Walk, is developing AI technology that tracks individuals’ movements and behavior to assess their chances of committing a crime. Chinese police forces have debuted AI-augmented glasses to identify individuals in real time. Notably, however, Chinese citizens are also beginning to resist such breaches of personal privacy.
The merging of the growth of the Internet of Bodies, and AI technology will further exacerbate existing cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The worst fears are safety threats, and threat of remote assassination or internet-enabled murder. For instance, if an internet-enabled machine is tracking your heartbeat, Exand a hacker takes over control, they could kill you from halfway around the world. Former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney so feared being assassinated by electronic shock to his implanted heart defibrillator, he had a new device without WiFi capability installed.
Experts are examining Legal, privacy and ethical implications inherent in advances related to the Internet of Bodies, asking questions such as who should have access to the data, how it can be protected from those who shouldn’t have access, how tech companies can protect clients from malicious hackers who could remotely wreak havoc on someone’s body, and what role, if any, health information privacy rules should play.