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CDR to Focus Research on Emerging Health Related Technologies.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Since its inception, the Center for Design Research has been developing research in the areas of “smart car/smart home.” With the advent of the smart meter and other technological devices, the possibilities of performing “in-field” diagnostics by the consumer have grown expeditiously and are all converging to create a multifaceted combination that is redefining health and wellness for today’s consumer. These possibilities come at an appropriate time during the discussion of the nation’s health programs.

A recent Ford news release focusing on new technologies stated, “Health of mind, body and spirit is a significant slice of a larger global health and wellness trend that is transcending multiple generations, spectrums and industries. So-called healthy homes, allergen-free cleaners and products, and the cosmetic and bariatric surgery boon, for example, are all converging to create an eclectic mash-up that is redefining health and wellness for today’s consumer.  An underlying consumer demand for being in the know about one’s health while on the go also continues to rise, fueling the growing number and breadth of mobile healthcare devices and health-and-fitness related software and smartphone applications hitting the market today.”

As Ford suggests, new tools and devices are beginning to edge their way into the consumer marketplace and will offer wireless health devices that will empower people with information and guidance that can directly address the most important health concerns. These areas will be strengthened and propelled by children who have reached adulthood and have grown up utilizing web, gaming and other technology platforms.

The Center for Design Research will place emphasis on research and development for goods and services that will not only help to improve the driving and household environmental experience, but people’s lives as well.

A large portion of the momentum propelling the emerging technologies should be credited to the Ford SYNC® system and its ability to connect devices via Biuetooth, access cloud-based Internet services and control smartphone aps. Ford is taking charge in this automotive whitespace area, developing everything from the industry’s first voice-controlled in-car connections to an array of health aids such as glucose Investor Events monitoring devices, diabetes management services, asthma management tools and Web-based allergen alert solutions.

CDR Director Gregory Thomas believes that this is the perfect convergence of the CDR’s faculty colleagues and students with the direction of the University initiatives for the future and top industry leaders who have voiced support for the direction of this research. It seems that the sentiment is also shared by two national/international healthcare industries that have provided vocal support for continued research in this area. Hopefully by the end of the month these companies will be made known.

The Center is focused on interdisciplinary collaboration in the research and development of consumer products and services. As a working laboratory, it will unite KU students and faculty from across diverse disciplines to design imaginative – yet practical – solutions to complex problems.

The CDR would benefit KU and local/national communities by developing new knowledge to advance design as a tool for strategic innovation, process improvement and customer satisfaction. Modern theory-based methodologies guide team discovery and focus the efforts of designers, engineers, scientists and business professionals in creating innovative products, services, technologies and consumer experiences.

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