Exercise, meditation, better sleep, a healthy diet – these are the tried-and-true, low-tech routes to better health. But, from handheld mental health devices, to quick-diagnosis tools, to products that streamline life for nursing moms, some of the most exciting news in health is all about technological innovation. In some cases, scientists are teaming up with health technology companies, while in others, industrial designers are drawing on their own healthcare experiences to create potentially life-changing gadgets. The three products below stand out for their practicality. Each appeals to a wide swath of consumers —maybe even you.
HIV-Diagnosis USB Stick
When health-tech company DNAe teamed up with researchers at Imperial College, London, the result changed the game for HIV diagnosis. Unveiled last November, the USB stick device holds a drop of blood from a patient, and attaches to a computer, laptop or handheld device that measures the amount of HIV in the patient's bloodstream through an electrical signal. Beyond being easy to use and highly accurate, the device can produce results much faster than typical at-home HIV diagnosis tools —in less than 30 minutes.
Anxiety Relief in the Palm of Your Hand
Inspired by nature and motivated by his own experiences with anxiety, industrial designer Ramon Telfer created the Calmingstone. The egg-shaped device fits in the palm of your hand and monitors heart rate through a copper ring. It also glows, pulses along with your heart rate and connects to headphones that play motion-sensitive audio tracks. As you calm down, the pulse and glow do the same. First revealed in 2014, the Calmingstone officially launched in November 2016, but failed to meet its Kickstarter goal. Here’s hoping Telfer revives the project.
Hassle-Free Breast Pump
No cords, no bottles, no undressing — that’s the ethos behind Willow, a wireless breast pump that launched in January 2017 at the Consumer Electronics Show. The device is wearable — it tucks underneath a woman’s bra and collects milk in an internal plastic pocket —and has a tracking app that adjusts to each woman’s unique milk production schedule. Women can go about their day without stopping to pump, and there’s no need to remove any clothing. In other words: Freedom!