Healthcare Technology Featured Article

October 30, 2013

University 'Amulet' Project Supports Mobile Health Technology

The cutting-edge Amulet project at Dartmouth College and Clemson University focuses on developing a wearable computing device that can be used in mobile health.

The Amulet initiative was described by the two universities as an “electronic bracelet” and a “software framework that enables developers to create user-friendly, safe, secure and efficient mHealth applications that fit seamlessly into everyday life.”

Thanks to a $1.5 million federal grant, researchers from Clemson University and Dartmouth College started the Amulet project, aiming to create a piece of technology to assist in health monitoring and health management.

"The advent of mobile health (mHealth) technology brings great opportunity to improve quality of life, individual and public health, and reduce health-care costs," explained Kelly Caine, who teaches at Clemson's School of Computing, in a statement. "Although mHealth devices and applications are proliferating, many challenges remain to provide the necessary usability, manageability, interoperability, availability, security and privacy."

The Amulet serves as a way to send health information. It can follow a patient’s use of medications and provide patient data to first responders. The wristband can also be used with apps on a patient’s smartphone or smart television.

“Our vision is that computational jewelry, in a form like a bracelet or pendant, will provide the properties essential for successful body-area mHealth networks," said Jacob Sorber, who also teaches in the School of Computing at Clemson. "These devices coordinate the activity of the body-area network and provide a discreet means for communicating with their wearer… Unlike popular fitness trackers, this wristband talks to your other health and fitness devices, so they know it's you using them and gives you a quick and easy way to approve the transfer of health information from one device to another or to your health record at your direction, therefore preserving privacy.”

Overall, the healthcare field is increasingly heading toward mHealth, according to a recent report from the Journal of the American Medical Association. In 2011 U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius called mHealth “the biggest technology breakthrough of our time.”

The AMA journal also said that mHealth will help provide “disruptive solutions” in response to current health-care spending; it takes advantage of billions of mobile users globally and provides “individualized medicine.”

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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