Apple and Verily make further inroads into health wearable tech
Apple and rival Verily – a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet – have invested in two major health wearable projects as momentum builds around products that encourage users to lead healthier lives.
Apple has partnered with health insurance firm Aetna to produce a new app that provides insights into a user’s health.
The move is seen as an attempt by the insurer to move beyond simply providing cover, and instead encourage users to make better decisions that could help prevent onset of disease.
Called Attain, the app aims to encourage users to achieve daily activity goals, sustain their everyday health, provide personalised health notifications, and rewards for achievements.
Activity goals are based on age, sex and weight, and includes a variety of activities rather than just steps taken, such as swimming and yoga.
Health actions include getting vaccinations, refilling prescriptions when they run out and suggesting checkups.
Rewards include points off the cost of their Apple Watch or gift cards to stores.
Meanwhile, Alphabet’s Verily has demonstrated a prototype of “smart shoe” that can track a user’s weight, movement and could even detect falls.
Verily is hoping to attract a co-development partner, according to CNBC, citing sources familiar with the project.
Because the shoes measure weight, they could be used to help detect a range of health-related issues.
Sudden weight gain can be a sign that the body is retaining fluid – a symptom of congestive heart failure.
Verily was previously known as Google Life Sciences but became a separate company under Google’s parent company in 2015.
It raised $1 billion in January from investors, which could be a sign of a potential spin-out from Alphabet.
Other devices the Verily team is working on include smart contact lenses for people recovering from cataract surgery, and a smart spoon that makes it easier for people with movement disorders to eat.
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