During this year's Mobile World Congress a biotech company Gero presented their new technology — a personal wellness calculator for smartphones and wearables. It allows users to continuously monitor their wellness status in response to different lifestyle choices. The calculator quantitatively assesses exactly how much long-term benefit or harm a user gains from certain habits using just a step counter.
The Gero team spent more than three years on a research to gather data from wearables users and build a model that can extract the fingerprints of aging and wellness changes from pedometer data stream. The model works even for a simple step counter that is available in almost any smartphone or fitness tracker, so it's not limited to special devices.
What makes Gero's "biomathematical engine" great is that it goes beyond straightforward activity counting and looks for locomotor patterns common to all people, but known to evolve throughout life span. The result, according to Gero, is a Wellness score that reflects the effect of healthy or unhealthy lifestyle choices on personal well-being.
These models were validated using data from US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and UK Biobank, where more than 100,000 people shared their clinical and health data. Using this data the company built a model that correlates shapes of accelerometer tracks with user's age and can predict personal mortality risks. Biological age itself doesn't really change that fast, but the wellness score changes really quickly in response to different lifestyle choices. The results of the study will be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Patent application is currently pending.
The Gero technology shows users how current habits affect their wellness and health span in the future. The technology can be used both in wellness and health care areas to, say, improve the efficacy of personal and corporate wellness plans, and for health and mortality risks evaluation in insurance. In addition, it can be implemented without additional research into existing wellness and health assessment system both for personal use and population-wide screening.
The Gero team has also built a web app that shows the capabilities of the technology. Called personal HealthBot, it is a Facebook Messenger bot that automatically detects any changes in the user's wellness status and notifies him or her about it in a timely manner. The app was designed for use with the Fitbit platform with plans to expand service for other fitness trackers and smartphones users.