November 21, 2011
Open Access For Heart Defibrillator Data

A report by Emily Singer for Technology Review brings a whole new twist to the open access movement for information. Needed: a heart defibrillator maker who will let you capture sensor data from the implanted device.

Hugo Campos is a man on a mission. He wants access to the data being collected inside his body by an implanted cardiac defibrillator. He believes that having this information could help him take control of his health—for example, by helping him figure out what triggers his frequent attacks of abnormal heart rhythms. While not life-threatening, they cause dizziness, fainting, and chest pain. But he says device makers are reluctant to make that information available, mostly for commercial reasons.

More data pooled together means more insights. Just as some people (e.g. Razib Khan) have released their genetic testing data into the public domain so could people with sensors embedded in their bodies. In fact, this will happen. Lots of people will stream real time sensor streams from their bodies to the internet for anyone to capture, watch in real-time, and analyze.

Collection of biological data used to be the sole preserve of scientists doing research. But with sensors and communications networks getting so cheap bottom-up biological and biomedical research is already starting as a result of increasing numbers of individuals uploading their test data web sites. Already this trend is yielding published research with valuable findings.

I expect we will be able to watch live feeds of assorted beating hearts all over the world. Gamers will let spectators watch their hearts beat and their brain waves change as they compete in online game tournaments. People will put sensors on their pets just as they put video cameras on them.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 November 21 10:28 PM  Policy Medical

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