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Five Wearable Sensors to Improve Your Life

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At the fourth TEDxMileHigh event, held Saturday at the Newman Center for Performing Arts, the topic of discussion was convergence: how technology can intersect with society to produce useful research and products. Entrepreneur and former neuroscientist Lauren Costantini stood out as someone who’s dealing directly with these overlapping worlds. She spoke of wearable sensors that can help you interpret the data “radiating” from your body and, if you make the proper adjustments, improve the way you feel. Here are five of the most helpful devices on (or soon to be on) the market.

1. The Portable EKG

Thanks to AliveCor, a free app available on the iPhone and Android models, you can now track your heart rate during and after exercise. When you wrap your hands around the heart monitor that straps onto the back of your phone, the device translates the impulses from your fingers into an ultrasound signal. The speaker on your phone picks up the signal, and the app records the heartbeat. You can then send your EKGs anonymously to board-certified cardiologists for analysis or look up your rates in the “arrythmia library” included in the app.

2. The Skin Cancer Detector

SkinVision, another mobile app, helps users determine whether their raised moles are cancerous or simply irritating. To start the process, take a picture of a mole and upload it to the app, which will then use an algorithm to label the bump as red, orange, or green based on the risk associated with it. Although the app does cost $4.99 on the App Store, a free version is available that informs you about the strength of the UV rays in your region and alerts you when you should wear sunscreen.

3. The Stress Tracker

Spire takes data monitoring to the next level, with a stone-shaped gadget that attaches to your belt loop or bra strap. Not only does it track the number of steps you take per day and how often you sit or lie down, but it also examines your breathing to detect signs of stress. The app that comes with it will then tell you when and where you’re most relaxed. At a pre-order price of $119, Spire isn’t as cheap as the others, but a clear state of mind might be worth the money.

4. The Person Locator

Location tracking company GTX Corp. has developed several GPS devices embedded within everyday objects such as backpacks, cell phones, and most recently, shoes. The latter are particularly helpful for keeping tabs on wandering Alzheimer’s patients as the bluetooth mechanism within the shoes sends an alert through email or text when the wearer crosses a set boundary.

5. The Compatibility Indicator

Though it’s still in development, researchers are working on an app that can match you up with your sweetheart based on the compatibility of your pheromones (chemicals our bodies produce that are thought to increase our appeal to potential mates). No more sifting through online profiles or suffering through blind dates; your own smell could steer you toward your future spouse.

Follow editorial assistant Mary Clare Fischer on Twitter at @mc_fischer.

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