McLaren turns F1 expertise to wearables health data

Engineers from Formula 1 team McLaren are using wearable technology to improve the health of subjects in a series of medical trials.

Body-mounted sensors mean McLaren analysts can rapidly pass feedback on biometric data back to their wearers – Source: McLarenThe group at McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) are leveraging their expertise in monitoring the performance of automotive components to human subjects fitted with heart-rate monitors and accelerometers. In the initial phase this involves gauging how effective the exercise regimes of obesity suffers are in burning calories, and rapidly feeding the data back to them.

In a sponsored post on the Daily Telegraph, Duncan Bradley, MAT head of high-performance design and engineering, says: ‘We are not just telling someone how many calories they used in a day. We can look at the data to see how effective it was that a patient swam at 2pm on Tuesday. Such useful information is set in context and is effective in changing people’s behaviour.’

MAT has a strategy to evolve this insight over the next few years to tackle other diseases too. Bradley says: ‘We have developed fantastic insights into physiological signs and we are working on technology that could monitor the progress of a disease or look for markers that show how a medication is working. This goes beyond simply measuring heart rates – we are after technology that provides more in-depth measurements.

‘In the future, people and patients will be empowered by wearable technology. Healthcare will be one of the big areas to benefit, but there will also be knock-on effects in the areas of sport, nutrition and relaxation.’

Besides helping UK Olympic athletes, MAT is also using wearable technology to produce improved time-and-motion studies of workers producing toothpaste in factories operated by GSK.