Ford finds partners in quest to complete health-monitoring car

The Ford Motor Company has enlisted some new partners in its drive toward developing a car that monitors the health of its owner. The group will work together to improve and build on the prototype mobile health management system that debuted at a recent wireless health conference.

The alliance, which is made up of Ford, Microsoft Corp., health and wellness software firm Healthrageous and BlueMetal Architects-- which designed the prototype system--was announced during a keynote address at the Digital Health Summit at the Consumer Electronics Show this week.

These are not the first companies from which Ford has sought help on the project. Early additions to the project included management services from WellDoc and Medtronic, for example.

The car would capture information from blood pressure monitors, activity monitors and glucose meters along with user-generated behavioral data to provide real-time health and wellness advice and monitoring, using the Healthrageous platform.

The driver can provide voice inputs with details of his or her health routine--recording, for example, whether he or she went to the gym, drank plenty of water, and took all of his or her medications during the day.

The data received from the driver then are uploaded into Microsoft's HealthVault cloud and transferred to Windows Azure. Users can access reports based on the data from their home computers.

In addition to hosting the data, Microsoft will help to translate robotic sensory information provided by the vehicle into an application that also provides a voice and touch-screen interface, while integrating biometrical data that come from a wearable device. One of Ford's contributions to the project is its SYNC technology to make it all hands-free.

"This alliance signifies an important step in bringing health innovation into people's everyday lives," Todd Bremner, chief technical officer for BlueMetal Architects, said in a release. "Ford's SYNC platform allows us to imagine, design and build natural user experiences leveraging voice and touch [to] seamlessly bring wellness into your everyday commute."

To learn more:
- read the Ford release

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