It may seem difficult to stay active, but technology is making it easier than ever. In the next decade, sciences like nanotechnology, 3D printing, and gene therapy will help us to stay even more healthy. Here are six ways technology is making it easier than ever to improve health.
Smartphones and health apps are giving us the framework to keep strict records and push ourselves to surpass previous limits. Apps like MapMyHike or MapMyRun provide users with specific data points such as overall duration, length, incline, and calories burned. They also let users undergo challenges to beat the personal records of competitors. It’s also possible to record nutritional data to make the apps more accurate.
Although most wearable devices are capable of measuring and recording vital signs such as heart rate in addition to everything your smartphone can do, new gadgets go a step further. The “Quell” relieves pain from debilitating diseases through nerve stimulation, and requires no prescription. Meanwhile, the “Emotiv” headset zaps your brain using neurotransmitters which can change your mood like flipping a switch.
Automated vehicles are less than a decade away. Our cars are already taking care of many delicate maneuvers like parking, for instance, by themselves, and automakers like Tesla and Audi are set to release vehicles with an “autopilot” feature in two to five years. These vehicles will be limited to highway driving. Stress can lead to both physical mental and physical illness, and health specialists have already suggested that our general level of stress will plummet once we’re no longer sitting in traffic or trying to parallel park on a busy street. So far, no automated car has been responsible for a traffic accident.
Scientists are currently conducting animal trials to test 3D printed bone, muscle, and joint tissues. The goal is the eventual printing of entire organs, which will likely become an even scarcer commodity when automated cars hit the road. This leaves tens of thousands of people without organs. One day soon, it won’t matter if we burn out our joints or organs. We’ll simply print new ones.
Scientists in this field are also currently conducting animal trials. Nanobots can help tag cancer cells with fluorescent dye to make it easier for surgeons to remove tumors and reduce the likelihood of recurrence. They’re also capable of transporting a medicine payload into a specific area of the body, and are small enough that the body won’t detect and attack them. After they’re done, the body cleanses itself of them on its own.
New motion analysis systems capture raw data to determine the movement patterns of patients with cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, autism, spinal injuries. This allows therapists to conduct safer exercise regimens and surgeons to assess the risk of specific surgeries. Athletes also use the technology to predict injuries and improve performance.
Many technologies make it easier to stay healthy today, and many more will make it easier to stay healthy tomorrow. The next generation is sure to see life expectancy rates rise, and treatments become much more effective.