Published on May 26, 2011
Why shouldn't your car help maintain your health? WellDoc shows that in-car technologies can do a lot more than compute fuel economy or get you from point A to B. (Photo: WellDoc)
Published on May 26, 2011
Ford takes "customer care" to new heights. (Photo: Ford)
Ford Motor Company says its voice-operated SYNC driver infotainment system is able to connect Bluetooth devices, access cloud-based
internet services and interact with smartphone applications, but soon it may do much more. Ford is now developing this technology further and plans to offer health aids such as monitoring devices for vehicle occupants who have complications related to diabetes, glucose levels, and asthma.
Ford says its SYNC system could relay health services to occupants through a Bluetooth connection to medical devices, a cloud-based server, or the AppLink service which allows drivers to access smartphone applications using voice commands.
In order to relay cloud-based information to vehicle occupants, Ford has partnered with WellDoc, a company that already has cloud-based services for asthma and diabetes sufferers. Ford says SYNC could allow users the ability to update their WellDoc profiles and receive services in real time as well.
"WellDoc was founded on the concept of helping patients manage their disease with everyday, personal tools that are easy to use and can be easily accessed," said President and COO of WellDoc, Dr. Anand K. Iyert. "Through our partnership with Ford, we've created a unique in-vehicle environment that supports patients so they can continuously maintain their daily routines without interruption."
Ford is also interested in offering more health services related to heart rate, relaxation, and stress reduction. For this reason, Ford has partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to study the effect that stress has on driving performance. After a nine month study, Ford claims that drivers are less stressed when using technologies such as parking assistants and cross-traffic alerts.
"Health and wellness provides a tremendous opportunity for Ford to provide peace of mind and a personal benefit to drivers and passengers while they are in our vehicles," said Global Manager of Interiors, Infotainment, Health & Wellness Research at Ford Research and Innovation, Gary Strumolo. "As more and more devices and technologies lend themselves to such connectivity in the car, it is our responsibility, our philosophy, to examine those possibilities and open our doors to industry relationships that can help us do it intelligently, efficiently and economically."
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