Six technology premieres we are looking forward to in 2024

December 27, 2023
Digital Health

AI PIN: Let AI be always with you

AI Pin is a small portable device that attaches to clothing using a magnet. The wearable – developed by Humane, headquartered in San Francisco – aims to replace smartphones and integrate people with artificial intelligence. Although launched in November 2023, 2024 will determine whether the technology will succeed or fail.

The square clip is equipped with a camera, microphone, and a number of sensors. It is fully controlled by voice and gestures and can be paired with Bluetooth headphones. Instead of a screen, it features a gesture-responsive touchpad to 'free people from screens.' One of the more exciting features is the Laser Ink Display projector, which displays text on the user's hand, providing information about incoming calls, SMS, or short messages.

An LED on the front signals when the built-in camera is recording. The AI Pin costs $699 (with a $24 monthly subscription). Interaction is based on a conversation with artificial intelligence rather than relying on apps, as in a smartphone. Brief information can be displayed on the palm. AI Pin can take photos, manage your calendar, write messages, call friends, help you navigate the city, and more.

Use cases in healthcare: AI Pin can display information about the environment. For example, if you pick up a handful of nuts, AI Pin will provide their nutritional properties. Theoretically, it could also help record data during a patient visit or hospital rounds.

APPLE Vision Pro: VR and the real world blended

In June 2023, Apple unveiled a long-awaited mixed-reality headset expected to usher in a new era of spatial computing. They will go on sale in April 2024. Unlike the VR goggles already available, Vision Pro will offer seamless integration of the real and virtual worlds. It is packed with high-tech features: a camera system that tracks eye movements and gestures to seamlessly manage digital content, voice control, and a high-resolution display (23 million pixels on two displays, 4K-quality video) to make the image seen before your eyes as perfect as ever.

During the presentation of the VR glasses, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that 'a new era of computing is beginning' that will change how people work, communicate with each other, and spend their leisure time. Glasses wearers will be able to purchase custom optical inserts for vision correction. The goggles have 12 cameras, five sensors, six microphones, and a surround sound system. Vision Pro recognizes the user's iris for unlocking and password authentication (Optic ID). FaceTime for VisionPro will be able, for example, to show all participants in a video conference in the space where the person is. The whole thing is supposed to be so comfortable that wearing the goggles will be comfortable even for several hours. Apple Vision Pro is expected to cost $3499.

Use cases in healthcare: VR could find applications in medical training, 3D video consultations, or virtual reality surgeries. It could also support VR therapies (VRx) for patients with chronic and acute pain or mental disorders.

OPEN AI GPT Store: The rise of AI mentors

GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformers. Several free chatbots, such as ChatGPT (OpenAI), Bard (Google), and Bing AI (Microsoft), have been developed based on this new artificial intelligence technology. However, these solutions are trained on large sets of general data available on the internet, sometimes missing granularity in answers.

The developer of ChatGPT, OpenAI, envisions everyone having an advisor based on generative artificial intelligence specialized in a specific topic. It could be an expert in writing emails, management, cooking, child care, negotiation, or health mentoring. At the end of 2023, OpenAI announced the GPT Store, which is similar to Google's or Apple's app store. Vendors could offer different versions of GPT, downloaded like smartphone apps. Additionally, a GPT wizard was created to help each company create its own GPT, feeding it with additional data. Each enterprise can develop its personalized agent to assist with business operations. For example, this could be a customer chat or a decision support system.

Use cases in healthcare: We can expect GPTs for medical purposes, such as well-being mentors created to help manage specific diseases, healthy lifestyle coaches, first aid chatbots, and triage-based health assessments.

Forward CarePod and SNCF telemedicine kiosks in train stations: Health on the go

U.S.-based futuristic clinic Forward has unveiled its CarePods – a portable, self-service, AI-driven telemedicine kiosk where patients can have preventive checkups as part of a subscription-based care plan. While Forward CarePods capsules are nothing new and resemble telemedicine kiosks, they are expected to offer entirely new capabilities, from disease diagnosis and biometric body scanning to even blood tests. The mobile AI doctor's office without a doctor will be driven by artificial intelligence and packed with a new generation of diagnostic devices. The use of CarePod for regular checkups will be possible upon subscription (rates start at $99 per month), and patients will manage their health via mobile apps.

There will be apps aimed at chronic patients (diabetes, hypertension, depression) and preventive ones, such as prenatal care, cancer screening, and genetic disease risks. Data collected at the CarePod capsule visit will be uploaded to the Forward e-health platform, where patients can monitor health parameters and treatment progress. The app allows patients to access all data, test results, and personalized treatment and prevention plans. CarePods will be placed in shopping malls, gyms, and offices, initially in San Francisco (where the first Forward clinic was established), New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

In November 2023, the company announced that it had raised $100 million from investors to manufacture and deploy the capsules. In an interview with Fierce Healthcare, Adrian Aoun, Forward CEO, said that the problem with healthcare is that it relies solely on doctors and nurses. And there are not enough of these to meet the growing health needs. Therefore, 'healthcare should be a product.' 'We should extract every activity performed by doctors and nurses and build it into hardware and software to scale care without personnel limitations,' said Aoun.

Telemedicine kiosks seem to be experiencing a comeback. French national rail carrier SNCF plans to deploy telemedicine services at some 300 train stations by 2028, arguing that 90% of the population lives within a 10-kilometer radius of a station. They are to be located in areas characterized by inadequate access to healthcare.

Initially, the 15-square-meter telemedicine booths will be placed near station entrances, offering comfortable, friendly places to manage patients effectively during teleconsultations. A nurse will always be present on-site, and the patient will be examined remotely by a doctor practicing in France. Appointments will be able to be made on-site or via online medical scheduling platforms or the SNCF app.

SEAGATE HAMR: More space for health data

About 30% of all data in the world is collected in healthcare. By 2025, this figure is expected to rise to as high as 36%. Such rapid growth is attributed to the increasing digitalization of the health sector and the processing of more health-related data collected by new devices, such as wearables. This surge implies a massive increase in demand for memory capacities.

In 2024, there could be a revolutionary development in data storage. Seagate has announced HAMR (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording) hard drive technology with an initial capacity of 32 terabytes, which is expected to grow to 80 terabytes in subsequent years. This innovation has the potential to revolutionize data center operations and increase the availability of cloud services.

Use cases in healthcare: Cheaper cloud computing services for healthcare facilities.

Wi-Fi 7 and 7G: New speed for smart hospitals

The new Wi-Fi 7 wireless data standard will provide data transmission four times faster than Wi-Fi 6 and five times faster than Wi-Fi 5. Technology giants like Apple have already announced that new versions of their devices will begin supporting the standard in late 2024. Some countries have also implemented 7G mobile Internet networks, including Norway, the Netherlands, and South Korea. 7G is four times faster than 6G and 14,000 times faster than the average mobile internet speed available today. However, broad utilization of Wi-Fi 7 and 7G networks requires infrastructure development.

Use cases in healthcare: The speed of mobile Internet and Wi-Fi data transfer is crucial for developing the so-called Internet of (Medical) Things or providing remote medical services, such as robotic surgeries or teleconsultations. In surgeries performed with human-operated robots by remote teams, even minor delays in the transmission of signals can interfere with the coordination of a surgery team. High-speed Wi-Fi networks can help integrated devices in smart hospitals communicate seamlessly.