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Merging Architecture with a Health Monitoring System

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © Haak78 | Dreamstime


Where is the middle-ground between going to the doctor’s office and taking care of your healthcare needs once going about your daily life? New technologies are surfacing to help you out – and once such technologies work out their kinks, it will be possible to merge architecture with a monitoring system to help you take better care of your health.

Such emerging technologies are currently being created for those suffering from chronic illnesses, according to an article entitled Personal Medical Monitoring by Emily Singer. Such services as the online “Health Vault” which allows for home medical devices to record, archive and chart patterns as you take daily medical tests to manage your health. (1) What I find interesting is the fact that such technologies may be ultimately used wherever you happen to be. For example, current work is being done to design “Band-Aid-like sensors” that can be worn – these monitor your body and keep a real-time information archive of your condition. (1)


When you begin to think of all the applications worn sensors might be used for, one wonders why such technologies have not been developed sooner. Regarding health, such devices are targeting the monitoring of “blood pressure, blood sugar, [asthma peak-flow], heart rate, weight, and pulse”. (1) Of course, these monitoring applications are targeting chronic illnesses, but more uses are bound to follow.

Now, what happens when we think about merging such health monitoring systems with architecture? Will you like having your blood pressure or heart rate monitored while shopping in a store? And what if the store building had access to that information – might it interact with you differently? Might the store lead you to the aspirin aisle if it knew you had a headache?

Of course, there is always your home…It is likely that you’ll want such monitoring systems to remain personal; hence, private. Is there any circumstance where you would want architecture to monitor your bodily fluctuations? Temperature control, lighting and wayfinding spring to mind. Any others?


(1) Singer, Emily. Personal Medical Monitoring. Technology Review. MIT. April 24, 2009.





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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

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AI Group Design
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Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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