Collision Conference Recap: Robotics, AI, and VR for Health Care


The Collision conference, held last week in New Orleans, is a unique mashup of technology talks that offer wide ranging views on how emerging technologies are shaking up everything from the music and auto industries to health care, clean energy, and more.

The conference also offered a showcase for promising startups, with what seems like an unlimited source of ideas – “There’s an app for that” appeared to be true when walking the conference floor.

Doctor Robot Will Heal You Now

A theme that emerged from health tech startups and conference talks is the idea that health care will be moving into your home, through the use of app-driven devices, robotics, and “expert systems”, better known as AI.

In this new health care world, many medical devices could become as common as household appliances (think blood pressure, heart rate, and sleep monitors), and medical expert apps on your phone that will alert your doctor when a health problem is detected, long before the need for an urgent care or ER visit.

The physician of the future may evolve into more of a medical Sherpa, guiding you along the best path to health and wellness, based on real-time health data from your medical app & devices.

A few health care devices & apps from the conference: Softbank Robotics Pepper, currently designed as a hospitality greeter, could easily evolve into a more serious home health assistant with the right AI software – learning how to help & respond to a person’s individual (and idiosyncratic) needs.

DeepFit takes a novel approach to health & fitness training, with a major focus on emotional and cognitive health, rather than “standard” data like calories consumed and heart rate.

Neurotrainer, a virtual reality (VR) app for cognitive training and rehabilitation. VR systems show great promise as a non-drug approach to ADHD, brain injury rehabilitation, and a host of other brain conditions.

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