A variety of new preventive measures to help Japan’s rapidly aging population avoid illness and injury went on display at a medical exposition in the port town of Yokohama.
The ME-BYO (pronounced mee-bee-yoh) Japan 2015 conference also sought to promote healthier lifestyles for the elderly.
One innovation on display was a smartphone application called Mind Monitoring Systems - Mimosys for short - that is designed to track a user’s emotions and state of mind throughout the day, via voice measurements.
“This technology can estimate people’s mental condition by capturing the vibration of the vocal cords,” said Kazuo Shimizu, sales manager at PST Corporation Inc.
Shimizu says he hopes the app will help doctors diagnose patients over long distances by phone.
“We can diagnose people even living in a rural place without a hospital over the phone using this technology with smart phones. This is what we are aiming for,” he said.
Other exhibitors focused on helping the physically challenged walk and work more easily.
Cyberbyne Robo Care Center, creators of the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL), says its robot suit will help the elderly and infirm walk and carry heavy objects with relative ease.
Takashi Kasukawa, manager of the company’s sales planning department, demonstrated how easy it was to lift a 10-litre canister of water from the floor while wearing the suit. “The brain’s information is transmitted to the muscle through the nerve cells during movements. The HAL will catch the bioelectric potential signals generated at that time and then act,” he said.
In addition to personal use devices, technology aimed at wider use in hospitals was also on display. The world’s largest toilet manufacturer, Toto, presented Flowsky, a toilet which acts as a uroflowmeter. A user urinates into the toilet where a sensor measures changes in volume over time to calculate the urine flow rate and volume, providing a reading shortly afterwards.
In total 27 bio-industry related organizations exhibited advanced health technologies at the expo.
ME-BYO is a play on the Japanese word Mibyo, which is considered to be the pre-symptomatic state before the onset of physical or mental illness that can be monitored in order to take preventative measures or early action. Its literal translation is ‘pre-disease’.
The Kanagawa prefectural government hopes to encourage elderly people to remain healthy and active, and ultimately reduce problems associated with an aging population, including higher medical costs.