Future Tech and the Impact on Physiotherapy

Technology is advancing, processing power is doubling and getting smaller and it looks like Moore’s Law is becoming more and more accurate and won’t stop until we transistors reach sub-atomic size. Think back 10 years ago and what we thought possible then, just imagine what will be possible in another decade. Could full body PET scanners with an instant diagnosis be possible?

We are already seeing examples of total industry change with the advent of 3D scanners and printers and just look at the inspiring uses. Team Unlimbited are doing amazing things with 3D printed prosthesis which are adaptable, cheap and extremely accessible. On the opposite of the spectrum, Daniel has been given a hand for the first time. Joel, an engineer at UWE, has created a bionic hand which senses activity at the neuromuscular junction to produce movement which a decade ago was pure sci-fi.

With personalised medicine becoming more realistic through ingestible sensors and real-time blood scanners the availability of daily internal health reports at the touch of an app are possible. This could possibly be the end of  one of the biggest of hospital inefficiencies – the dreaded waiting time –  ironically the wait for this technology seems to be lengthy.

Virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) however is now readily available to nearly everyone and the possible applications to therapy are clear. The novelty factor and the interactive nature will hopefully engage those who dislike ‘regular’ exercise and enable those with a sedentary lifestyle to become fitter and more healthy. As the technology advances specific disorders can be targeted and add an extra dimension to home based exercise. Areas such as vestibular pathology, which suffer greatly from low participation, are sure to benefit enormously.

Physiotherapy  has the opportunity to be at the forefront of the technology boom, lets not stand still but push the boundaries of what is possible to ensure our patients get the best rehabilitation possible. After all, that is our duty.

If you want to try out VR yourself you should visit the Physiopedia exhibition stand at ER-WCPT this November.