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Do You Know What All Activities Your Smartwatch Can Sense? Read Here To Find Out!

Apps might alert users to typing habits that could lead to repetitive strain injury (RSI), or assess the onset of motor impairments such as those associated with Parkinson's disease.

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To reach this conclusion, Harrison and his team began their exploration of hand activity detection by recruiting 50 people to wear specially programmed smartwatches for almost 1,000 hours while going about their daily activities. Pixabay

Smartwatches, with a few tweaks, can detect a surprising number of things your hands are doing like helping your spouse with washing dishes, chopping vegetables or petting a dog, say researchers from Carnegie Mellon University.

By making a few changes to the smartwatch’s operating system, they were able to use its accelerometer to recognise hand motions and, in some cases, bio-acoustic sounds associated with 25 different hand activities at around 95 percent accuracy.

Those 25 activities (including typing on a keyboard, washing dishes, petting a dog, pouring from a pitcher or cutting with scissors) are just the beginning of what might be possible to detect, the researchers said.

“We envision smartwatches as a unique beachhead on the body for capturing rich, everyday activities,” said Chris Harrison, Assistant Professor in Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) at Carnegie.

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Sensing hand activity also lends itself to health-related apps — monitoring activities such as brushing teeth, washing hands or smoking a cigarette.
Pixabay

“A wide variety of apps could be made smarter and more context-sensitive if our devices knew the activity of our bodies and hands,” he added.

Just as smartphones now can block text messages while a user is driving, future devices that sense hand activity might learn not to interrupt someone while they are doing certain work with their hands.

Sensing hand activity also lends itself to health-related apps — monitoring activities such as brushing teeth, washing hands or smoking a cigarette.

“Hand-sensing also might be used by apps that provide feedback to users who are learning a new skill, such as playing a musical instrument, or undergoing physical rehabilitation,” the study noted.

Apps might alert users to typing habits that could lead to repetitive strain injury (RSI), or assess the onset of motor impairments such as those associated with Parkinson’s disease.

To reach this conclusion, Harrison and his team began their exploration of hand activity detection by recruiting 50 people to wear specially programmed smartwatches for almost 1,000 hours while going about their daily activities.

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Those 25 activities (including typing on a keyboard, washing dishes, petting a dog, pouring from a pitcher or cutting with scissors) are just the beginning of what might be possible to detect, the researchers said.
Pixabay

More than 80 hand activities were labeled in this way, providing a unique dataset.

For now, users must wear the smartwatch on their active arm, rather than the passive (non-dominant) arm where people typically wear wristwatches, for the system to work.

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Future experiments will explore what events can be detected using the passive arm.

Harrison and HCII PhD student Gierad Laput presented the findings at “CHI 2019”, the Association for Computing Machinery’s conference on human factors in computing systems in Glasgow, Scotland. (IANS)

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Experts say, Long-Term Exposure to Asbestos can Trigger Lung Cancer

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have the potential to cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health groups

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Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have the potential to cause Cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health groups. Pixabay

After the US health regulators found traces of asbestos in samples from Johnson & Johnson (J&J) baby powder and forced the company to recall 33,000 bottles of talcum powder, physicians in India have warned that long-term exposure of asbestos can trigger lung cancer in children.

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have the potential to cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health groups.

According to media reports, customers should stop using powder from the affected J&J batch ‘immediately’.

In its defence, the 133-year-old J&J said it had launched a review and prior tests have not found asbestos.

The firm is facing thousands of lawsuits from people who claim its talc products caused cancer, which J&J has strongly denied, said media reports.

“The only protection we have against asbestos is knowledge, vigilance and care for our children. If the lungs of children are pre-mature then they are more prone to get affected by asbestos,” Rajesh Chawla, Senior Consultant Respiratory Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, told IANS.

“Children, who have accidentally inhaled asbestos, might see the effect after many years. Some can even develop lung cancer. In the advanced stage, one can also suffer from peritoneal mesothelioma,” Chawla explained.

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Children, who have accidentally inhaled asbestos, might see the effect after many years. Some can even develop lung Cancer. Pixabay

The USFDA has been testing dozens of products for asbestos, a known carcinogen amid rising public concern.

In an earlier statement, J&J said that out of an abundance of caution, “it is initiating a voluntary recall in the United States of a single lot of its Johnson’s Baby Powder in response to a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) test indicating the presence of sub-trace levels of chrysotile asbestos contamination (no greater than 0.00002%) in samples from a single bottle purchased from an online retailer”.

“Despite the low levels reported and in full cooperation and collaboration with the FDA, JJCI is initiating this voluntary recall of Lot #22318RB of Johnson’s Baby Powder, from which the tested sample was taken,” the company added.

According to Anubhava Patel, Consultant Neonatology and Paediatric at Motherhood Hospital in Noida, asbestos can cause restrictive lung disease and severe respiratory insufficiency.

“Long term inhalation can cause lung cancer (mesothelioma). It’s an occupational health hazard. These days asbestos is found in talcum powder and it is harmful to the kids,” Patel told IANS.

According to a case study on 33 patients, published recently in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, exposure to asbestos-tainted talcum powder may cause malignant mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer that affects tissues lining internal organs.

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Exposure to asbestos-tainted talcum powder may cause malignant mesothelioma, a rare and deadly Cancer that affects tissues lining internal organs. Pixabay

“Exposure to asbestos-contaminated talcum powders can cause mesothelioma. Clinicians should elicit a history of talcum powder usage in all patients presenting with mesothelioma,” the study noted.

“Mesothelioma is considerably a new condition for India, with the first case being reported in 2015. Much of India’s asbestos-related health is primarily occupational and second-hand exposure,” said Manish Mannan, Pediatrics, Paras Hospital in Gurugram.

He added that kids who work with the material in factories are often the victims of diseases derived from asbestos exposure.

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“Patients may not develop symptoms of mesothelioma as these symptoms are typically only discovered in the later stages of the disease. Treatment involved either some form of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy,” Mannan added. (IANS)