Thursday, May 27, 2010

Augmented Reality and Health...Institute for the Future workshop

by Karen Coppock

The Institute for the Future was generous enough to invite the Mobile Health 2010 participants to a half-day session on augmented reality (AR) and mobile health yesterday. Popular topics were using AR for preventative health, user interfaces, sensors and chronic care management. A few themes cut-across several of the topics and echoed some of the key take-aways from the Mobile Health 2010 event the day before, including:

Less is more
  • Actionable information and knowledge is better than raw data and dense charts and graphs
  • Simple and very easy-to-use user interfaces are essential - especially when dealing with elderly populations, which tend to have the highest incident of chronic health conditions
  • Images can be extremely powerful and persuasive
Personalization may go hand-in-hand with AR
  • Individuals may be more likely to be motivated to respond to AR when it is personalized. Motivational messages from grand-kids to give cancer survivors the strength to continue treatment, reminders from a recording you made yourself about how crummy junk food makes you feel may help you walk past - and not into - a McDonalds, the ability to block out food choices in a grocery store that are not aligned with your particular diet plan will help keep you on plan and images of yourself 10 pounds lighter may motivate you to continue on with your workout plan
AR applications for mobile phones will take a while to mature and start to be used in health and well-being initiatives in the developed world. It will take them even longer to reach the developing world given the levels of sophistication required from mobile device and networks. And just as with basic mHealth applications, the effectiveness of AR with regards to improving health and well-being outcomes will need to be proven and new business models created.

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