Ford and Microsoft last week announced a partnership to study how individuals can use in-vehicle monitoring technology to manage health and wellness.
According to Ford, the car is an "ideal platform" for health services—it's convenient, private, and many Americans spend an increasing amount of time in their automobiles. There is "a natural role for the automobile in the emerging digital health and wellness field," according to Gary Strumolo, who manages infotainment, interiors, health, and wellness at Ford Research and Innovation.
The car and computer giants have joined with online mobile health applications developer Healthrageous and BlueMetal Architects, an interactive design and technology firm, to explore system possibilities.
At this week's Digital Health Summit at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the companies discussed a prototype designed by BlueMetal Architects.
The system uses biometric data collected from a wearable device, as well as spoken descriptions from the user about his or her health routine. It also allows users to upload data from their in-car monitors to Microsoft's HealthVault personal health record platform.
Strumolo says the new technology is "full of transformative potential" but is not meant to function as a medical device or diagnostic tool. He says, "There is a line we'll never cross," adding, "We don't want to have the car able to make predictions" (Healthcare IT News, 1/12; Versel, MobiHealthNews, 1/12; Ford release, 1/11).