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UBM TechInsights Issues Warning to Medical Devices Industry About Possible Obsolescence as Reliance on Smartphones Increases
Date:2/7/2011

p://www.ubmtechinsights.com/reports-and-subscriptions/teardowns/">product teardowns of consumer electronic devices and smartphones, Brown has traced the technology lifecycle of consumer electronics innovations as they have diverged along these two paths and examined how electronic medical device technologies will progressively converge with smartphones.

The core elements of many personal medical devices – including processors, displays, memory, keyboard/data-entry methods, battery power, connectivity methods, speaker/headphones, and sensors – are being found increasingly in smartphones. Driven by apps, video, and gaming, smartphones have also become more sophisticated, boasting greater processing power and better sensors.  

As a result, electronics designers can now deliver valuable medical device functionality at a lower marginal cost through integration with smartphones. Lower prices to consumers who already possess smartphones increase the addressable market for integrated products as compared to more expensive, stand-alone medical devices.

Integration often appears first as a physical connection between the smartphone and a specialized sensor through a cable or wireless technology. An example is the Nike + iPod Sport Kit that adds pedometer and pulse meter functionality to the iPhone, augmented with a "personal trainer" application for tracking time, distance, pace, and calories burned. Subsequent stages of integration include physical packaging, sometimes with "sleeves" for specialized sensor functionality like the AliveCor iPhone ECG, then ultimately complete integration employing onboard smartphone sensors, like the iStethoscope.  The potential for personal wellness and medical applications development on smartphone devices, including the char
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