Recent months have been characterised by a global mantra: stay healthy, be considerate of others and act responsibly. The protection of public health will be a society-wide issue playing a major role for a long time yet. Technical innovations that deliver new possibilities and applications have increasing importance in this context.
The following award-winning projects – honoured with the 2020 German Innovation Award from the German Design Council – make it simpler to stay healthy in everyday life.
Early detection and treatment of cardiovascular diseases
Heart Force AG is a Swiss–Canadian start-up active in digital health. With Cardio Pro, it has developed the world’s first all-in-one cardio-screening device for the early detection and prevention of heart disease. The sensor and app can turn any smartphone into a screening device for early detection. Consumers are provided with a low-cost and precise check-up tool that helps them identify critical values.
“The WHO says that cardiovascular diseases are responsible for the most deaths around the world. The problem with these diseases is that they do not show any symptoms in their early stages,” the jury explains, “Existing diagnostic technologies are expensive, which is why they are usually only used when patients have symptoms. With Cardio Pro, the first affordable and precise measurement method for the early detection of heart disease is now available and can be used by the consumer in less than a minute without needing supervision.”
Blood sugar measurement without a prick
The FreeStyle Libre 2 blood glucose meter from Abbott enables continuous blood glucose monitoring. Easy, safe, pain-free and discreet measurement is made possible with a sensor attached on the upper arm. The values are captured by briefly scanning the sensor with a special reader device or smartphone app available for Android and iOS systems. It is possible to scan through clothing, and the sensor can also be worn in the shower, while swimming and in the sauna.
In its reasoning for awarding “Gold”, the jury says, “It is vital for diabetes patients to have their blood glucose levels regularly monitored and previously that meant pricking a finger. With the FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor, they now have access to an incredibly more convenient and pain-free measurement method that monitors continuously, and therefore increases safety. Users can constantly keep track of their values through the smartphone app, and they also receive notifications in good time.”
Swimming goggles with real-time data
FORM Swim Goggles are a pair of premium goggles and a fitness tracker in one. The sports tool from Form Athletica, a Canadian sports technology company, provides up-to-date performance data through an integrated, see-through augmented-reality display. Until recently, swimmers were at a disadvantage because the wearable devices available had a negative impact on swimming technique. FORM Swim Goggles intend to fix this shortcoming by enabling swimmers direct access to their performance data (including split times, distance and stroke frequency).
The jury emphasises, “These goggles with integrated tracker measure performance data in real time without negatively impacting the swimmer. The data is displayed in the goggles’ field of vision, so that they are always in view whether the swimmer’s head is above or below water. An innovation that was long overdue for water sports, considering that fitness tracking has long been standard in sports played on land.”
A new-generation virtual fitness game
Sphery, a Swiss sports tech company, has designed an immersive fitness game setting in the form of ExerCube, a virtual fitness game. The player is surrounded by three video walls on which a virtual game with obstacles is played out. It is controlled by full-body movements that are identified through a tracking system and fed into the game. The level of difficulty is adapted to the player’s fitness and gaming skills. The ExerCube can be played in single-player or multiplayer modes in different game scenarios and can be used for various forms of exercise.
“ExerCube is a new type of fitness game that is the first to combine the aesthetics of a video game with effective, scientifically proven exercise concepts. Another novel feature is the level of difficulty constantly adapting to the user in real time, generating an optimum flow for the workout. A fascinating tool that challenges the body and mind and promises a great deal of fun,” says the jury of the 2020 German Innovation Awards in its judgement.