Google’s Project Ara, headed by Paul Eremenko, aims to allow users to create a smartphone tailored to their needs and wants, with their functional and aesthetic choices taken seriously into account. By listening to, and incorporating users’ wishes, Project Ara is changing personal technology now and into the future. Most recently, at Engadget’s Engage conference, the former deputy director of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) expressed his passion for Project Ara, particularly in the area of health care technology.
By attaching a small square module to the top of a prototype Ara phone, Eremenko discussed the prototype of a pulse oximeter, which measures the level of oxygen content in the user’s blood. A device like the oximeter could be a central hub for small medical devices, which may include other health-related monitors. It means that the phone could essentially become a database of health data, monitoring respiratory, blood, blood pressure, and level of fitness. Mobile phones are able to hold a lot of information about their users, but with devices like oximeter and other health-data collecting sensors, the mobile phone will become a repository for a combination of diet, workout regimen, health and fitness, and may even include doctor appointments, vaccine and medication information.
Despite the excitement and opportunity to do even more with our phones, there is still a year’s worth of development that needs to be completed before the public will see a meaningful rollout of Project Ara. Unfortunately, Eremenko has not released any information about when consumers can expect to be able to use of these nifty devices. He said, “we do intend to do a consumer pilot later in 2015.” Google is supposedly going to make an announcement about the release date that the company’s Project Ara developer conference in Mountain View on January 14, with satellite locations at Google offices in New York City, Buenos Aires, and London. Again, the conference will be held in Singapore on January 21, with satellite locations at Bangalore, Tokyo, Taipei, and Shanghai. Hopefully it won’t be too long until we’re able to use our devices much more readily to build and store important health information. Looking forward to it Google!