telephoneI have written in the past about non-invasive sensing to monitor health parameters. It appears that one such technology could soon go mainstream.

Smartphone video cameras can capture the subtle changes in skin coloring that occurs as blood pulses underneath. GE Global Research – along with Michigan State University and the University of Rochester Medical Center – is developing algorithms that can analyze those video images and translate the data into a measure of blood pressure.

Imagine being able to get a blood pressure reading anytime, anywhere, just by taking a 5 to 10-second video of yourself from your smartphone. Or, a camera-equipped mirror could give you your blood pressure reading as you go about your morning grooming routine. Or, your blood pressure could be constantly monitored as you sit in front of your computer. Such a system could head off impending health issues by serving as an early-warning device. Linked to care givers, it could provide alerts if their at-risk patients’ blood pressure spikes.

There are undoubtedly many other applications for this type of technology that have yet to be imagined. It has the potential to profoundly change health care and medical device design. The transformation is not years down the road. It is right around the corner.