In a new stride towards smart health monitoring, a patent filed by Rockley Photonics numbered US20230248309A1 proposes a technique to assess a user's hydration status through a smartwatch, presumably their upcoming Rockley Health Monitoring Smartwatch.
Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining good health. It aids in digestion, keeps our skin healthy, and helps us stay focused and energetic. When our hydration level goes down, our body undergoes unnecessary stress.
However, it is difficult to track our water consumption in the bustle of daily activities and there is always a risk of either not drinking enough water, or over-hydrating.
Aiming to address these issues, the newly patented technique involves a smartwatch that monitors the user’s hydration status and assigns them a score based on their hydration efficiency. Just like being graded at school, the higher your hydration score, the better you are at maintaining your hydration levels.
The watch stores a recommendation data table and a rehydration fluid volume data table to provide insight into the user's fluid consumption. However, fluctuations in the individual’s fluid balance can sometimes mean the watch will not carry out these comparison and selection steps for the respective tables.
The Rockley smartwatch provides several potential benefits to the user. It can offer insights into a user’s hydration status during their regular routine in a more accessible manner than laboratory tests. The constant interaction with the watch could encourage users to improve their daily water consumption and decrease the risk of dehydration.
The smartwatch-acquired data will help in decreasing hospital admissions due to dehydration and overhydration, saving hospital costs for IV fluids, laboratory tests, and staffing fees. The measurements also have the potential to reduce the risk of kidney stones, lower the chance of hypovolemia or volume depletion, and improve survival rates during shock and trauma.
In theory, the wearable gadget extracts data continuously, which means the hydration status is also monitored constantly. The user will receive a real-time hydration rank which can guide them on their water consumption.
The smartwatch measures hydration by using an optical sensing module that requires only one detector, making it cheaper and simpler to manufacture compared to other models. These modules have the ability to continuously record data and the device can monitor the hydration of the user without requiring a sample to be taken, offering a non-invasive method of tracking hydration levels.
To illustrate the above, Rockley Photonics provided several figures including a flowchart of example steps of the computer-implemented method, a schematic diagram of an optical sensing module, and a depiction of an output of the computer-implemented invention.
Despite the promising features and benefits, we must remember this is just a patent and there's no guarantee that this product will hit the market. However, it does indicate that companies like Rockley are exploring ways the world of wearables can make our path to health and well-being easier.