Almost 3% of the population is visually impaired. This people have many restrictions on their day-to-day basis specially regarding reading. Only 7% of the books are available in braille or audio. Additionally, things like menus, letters, magazines rarely exist in braille. This fact puts blind people in great vulnerability.
2. Technology: The finger reader
This is a prototype developed by the MIT Media Lab.
The devise is a ring that assists visually impaired users with reading text or books.
When a visually impaired person wants to read something such as a menu they point their finger at the surface and the devise reads the words aloud. They can go faster, slower, go back, etc.
The reader has a small camera and it is equipped with algorithms that give real-time feedback as it scans the page. A vibration lets the user know if they need to lift their finger up or down and also signals the end of a line.
Diabetes is a growing problem in the world. As of 2014 approximately 387 million people had diabetes and the numbers are increasing sharply. In fact by 2035 it is expected to have 592 million people with this condition.
Diabetes is a chronic disease, and there is not cure for it. People with diabetes must maintain their sugar levels under control. Uncontrolled blood sugar puts diabetic people at risk for dangerous complications.
A person with type-1 diabetes must tests their blood sugar levels between four to eight times per day. This implies testing blood drops throughout the day. This is disruptive and painful and as a result many people with diabetes do not monitor their sugar level as often as they should.
On January 2014, Google announced their Smart Contact Lens project. The project aims to assist diabetic people by constantly measuring their glucose levels in their tears.
The technology is less invasive than any devise in the market.
It uses a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor. Information about blood sugar levels could be uploaded to smart phone devises.
As cities are growing the demand of cars is also growing. If we continue with the same trend by 2050 there could be more than 2 billion cars concentrated in cities. This fact not only causes mobility problems but also have a tremendous impact on environment, current examples of this problem are cities like Mexico or Beijing.
One potential solution to this problem is Electric Vehicles such as Tesla Motors, in fact now almost every automaker has a version of Electric Vehicle. One promising alternative is the CityCar or MIT CityCar an urban concept car designed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. The idea is to supplement public transportation systems.
The advantage of the CityCar goes beyond the energy savings. The CityCar weights less than 1,000 pounds and is 60% the size of a Smart Car. Its concept was developed as the cleanest, economical and sustainable solution to meet the demand for personal urban mobility in densely populated cities.
This is an all-electric four wheel vehicle for two passengers, each wheel is independently digitally controlled with its own wheel motor that enables them to move in different directions and speed this gives the vehicle more precise maneuverability. The vehicle is designed to fold in the parking lodge and it has a front entry, thus it also saves parking space.
The idea is to produce the car massively, to do so we need the following stakeholders:
MIT’s Technology Media Lab
A Vehicle Mass Producer: it has to be a company interested in selling green solution to public; an example of this can be Ford Motors.
Since the prototype already exists once we have the partner we can decide the market where we start, options are China and the USA then we can start the first mass production of the car. This has to be joined with a marketing campaign.
Our current transportation system won’t be able to deal with population growth. Today there is approximately 7 billion people in the world within our live time the number will growth to approximately 9 billion, this growth comes with a series of practical problems one of witch is mobility.
When we look at the population growth in terms of cars the problem becomes clearer. Today there are approximately 800M worldwide with more people and greater prosperity the number is going to growth to 2-4 billion of which at least 75% of those cars will be located in highly populated cities.
Today the average American spends about a week a year in traffic jams; with the rate of cars growth the impact will be even higher. There is a huge need to think about a long-term strategy to solve the mobility problem. Cities need to make mobility smarter: more efficient reliable and green.
(2) Technology: Intelligent Transport Systems
We know that the problem of mobility cannot be solved with a single solution and different aspects must be considered such as public transportation, infrastructure and parking. In order to address those issues we need information, thus data analytics is playing a crucial role in developing an Intelligent Transport System. there are three cities that are using big data to solve different mobility problems.
Sao Paolo: Since 2014 IBM and The Agência de Transporte do Estado de São Paulo started the Information Control Center designed to help ensure the quality of service provided by local operators of the state’s highways. The center will unify traffic data, incident management and service delivery through the use of advanced analytics to help ensure safer and more efficient travel for a population of 20 million. See more at: https://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/44745.wss
To start a pilot the first step is to sign agreements with private technological enterprises such as IBM, the second step is to collect data from different sources. A marketing campaign must be part of the strategy in order to inform users about the solution and how to use it.
Today more than ever the needs of health have increased. Current population trends make it more difficult to have acces to health, this is true specially for people living in medium and small cities. While the majority of specialized doctors are located in big metropolitan cities, in the developing world population is growing at higher rates than the rest of the world and thus the need of doctors in those areas is increasing. On the other hand, in the developed world population is aging which means that the need of constant health control is also increasing. Therefore there is a huge need to improve access to health technologies to solve this situation. A promising solution is the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health or e-health.
2) Solutions. The solution of such problem can be categorized in 3 areas:
Telemedicine to improve diagnosis and patient monitoring. The use of telecommunications and information can be a powerful tool to provide clinical care at distance eliminating the distance barriers of patients. Nowadays there are different pilots of telemedicine systems in different countries, an example of this is the American Telemedicine Association. Services include primary care and specialist referral of patients and remote patient monitoring. The use of telemedicine not only is a cost efficient solution to bring access to health, this solution also reduce the CO2 emissions due to the reduction of transportation of patients. More information at http://www.americantelemed.org/about-telemedicine/what-is-telemedicine watch how it works https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=y02nSCYl2ZE
Big data analytics to improve the quality of health (Electronical Medical Record). Systematic collection of electronic information about patients and population can allow decision makers to improve the health system. Standardized data includes demographics, medical history, medication, allergies, etc. The WHO is elaborating a minimal information international standards to create a network of information. http://www.who.int/goe/publications/ehealth_series_vol6/en/
Educating the health workforce. Online education programs together with a network of specialist will increase the quality of the doctors located in cities in the developing world. An example of this is the Brazilian network of doctors and universities with constant education online programs to doctors and nurses (the name of the network is RUTE). See more at http://www.export.gov/brazil/static/MktInfo_Latest_bg_br_076007.pdf
Doctors and hospitals
Local and national governments
4) Future steps.
Step 1. A complete research on available technologies. The first thing we need is to understand the state of art of the subject. To do so we need to arrange interviews with health experts that are working on the subject to understand the available technologies and the lesson learned from practitioners.
Step 2: Develop a national network of doctors, hospitals, regional governments, universities and international organizations. Once this network is working we can start a 10 year plan to reform the national health system.
Step 3: start a pilot in one city. This pilot will give us light to evaluate the best way of scaling ehealth to the rest of the country.