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Health and Wellness in your Car

Can you be healthy in your car

We all spend a lot of time in our vehicles. Driving to and from the office, dropping off and picking up the kids from school and their activities, running errands around town, traveling during vacations, and of course all the time spent stuck in traffic. This adds up to a lot of time being spent in one smallish space and translates into having less time to take care of some of the important realities of life.

Vehicle manufactures are aware of the amount of time we spend in our vehicles and have started to partner with third-party providers to help us make better use of the time spent in our cars. This has translated into a wide range of gadgets to support our iPhones, GPS units, and other communication devices so we can safely and legally answer the phone, conduct meetings, and ensure we never get lost. And of course there are the built-in entertainment options for kids and other back-seat passengers. (A quick look at our Auto News section highlights these innovations.)

But now, Ford is taking things a step further with its partnership with Microsoft and Healthrageous.  This new partnership, announced at the CES Digital Health Summit earlier this year, is focused on how people can keep tabs on their health and enhance their wellness - all from within their car, truck, minivan or SUV.

Healthrageous is based in Boston, Mass. and designs and engineers mobile and online apps and tools that allow folks to self-manage chronic diseases and preventative health measures. This technology is called “digital coach” and with this partnership makes use of the Microsoft Sync communications system that is standard in most Ford vehicles.

Because we spend so much time in our vehicles and we are often alone during commutes, errands and sometimes during long-distance travel - there is an opportunity according to these three manufacturers to provide health and wellness coaching. The theory is that we have time while driving and sitting in traffic to focus on our health concerns.

This partnership is seeing development in research in in-vehicle technology that includes systems and software that allows motorists to:

  • measure their blood sugar with a Medtronic system
  • control the heating system based on known allergies
  • upload health data into a Microsoft software system - ensuring that data is never lost
  • monitor heart rate with a seat that has a built-in heart rate monitor

 

What these developments should translate to are safer roads and a better driving experience. The thought being that with these integrated and super-sensitive computer systems, accidents related to stress, heart attack, diabetic comas, etc. can be prevented when drivers with known conditions are being monitored while on the road.

But the big question is: is this taking thing too far? How connected should we be while out on the road driving - should we be busy talking to a voice-activated system updating it with our health details while driving at 60 miles per hour down a busy freeway?