updated 12:45 pm EDT, Wed May 18, 2011
Ford working with medical companies on Sync apps
Ford announced it is working with several healthcare experts to bring health-monitoring services to its Sync in-car information and entertainment system. Through the system's Bluetooth connection, Sync could pair with glucose measuring devices to warn drivers with diabetes of high levels. Those with asthma or allergies could also check up on their status right from the car's Sync screen.
The carmaker is developing in-car Health and Wellness apps in conjunction with medical device maker Medtronic, WellDoc and SDI Health. Users will have the ability to access information such as web-based allergen alert solutions using their voice. Ford will focus with those with asthma, allergies and diabetes first, as they account for a large portion of the population.
"In essence, [we are] creating a secondary alert system and alternate outlet for real-time patient coaching services if you will," said Gary Strumolo, global manager, Interiors, Infotainment, Health & Wellness Research, Ford Research and Innovation.
Glucose monitoring is done in conjunction with Medtronic, who makes a continuous glucose monitoring device. Syncing with it, users could hear glucose levels and trends through audio and a center stack display and provide secondary alerts if levels are too low.
SDI Health and www.pollen.com are working with Ford on an Allergy Alert app for smartphones that can be accessed from Sync through its AppLink feature. Users will then have voice-controlled access to location-based, day-by-day index levels for pollen, asthma, cold and cough and ultraviolet sensitivity along with four-day forecasts.
A partnership with WellDoc will allow users to access their WellDoc profiles for real-time patient coaching, behavioral education and medication adherence support.
Also being examined is a way to help users monitor heart rate, relax and reduce stress.