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MyHeart research project explores ways to prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease


February 27, 2005

Displays for user interaction can be integrated into every-day appliances like a bathroom mirror.

Displays for user interaction can be integrated into every-day appliances like a bathroom mirror.

February 28, 2005 At the TEDMED conference late last year, Philips showcased MyHeart, a European project led by Philips with a budget of EUR 33 million and 33 project partners, among them Nokia, Vodafone, Medtronic and the Mayo Clinic. MyHeart is a research consortium that is studying options for smart electronic solutions and associated services that empower people to play an active role in maintaining their health. The project aims to make a significant contribution to the emerging market in products for consumer health and wellness.

Focusing on preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of death in the western world, the MyHeart project is exploring technologies that help people adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle, in order to reduce the risk of developing CVD and limit its rate of recurrence. Prominent risk factors for developing CVD are inactivity, poor sleep, stress and obesity. For example, more than 25 per cent of all Europeans suffer from sleep disorders, like sleep apnea and insomnia, and are at elevated risk to develop CVD.

MyHeart will explore solutions for assessing individual sleep quality and the diagnosis of sleep disorders at home through bio-feedback and personalized relaxation exercises. Solutions will also be proposed for improving physical activity, management of obesity and automatic detection. The overall goal is to determine whether an individual is maintaining a good condition and in good health by continuously monitoring vital signs such as electrocardiogram, respiration or skin impedance. To seamlessly integrate vital signs monitoring in a non-obtrusive way, on-body electronics will be developed that allow functional clothing with sensors to perform data acquisition and storage, processing, analysis and diagnostics.

This large project is organized in sub-projects, with Philips Research leading the development of consumer healthcare applications with participation from Medtronic and the Mayo Clinic; Nokia leading the design of new user interfaces, Vodafone responsible for managing activities related to professional interaction, and Smartex (center of advanced innovation for Milior SpA and Ermenegildo Zegna) responsible for the exploration of functional clothes and CSEM on-body electronics.

MyHeart is an Integrated Project, funded by the IST program of the European Commission's 6th Framework. It started on December 31, 2003 and will run 45 months.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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