US20080167539A1 - Method and apparatus for auto journaling of body states and providing derived physiological states utilizing physiological and/or contextual parameter - Google Patents

Method and apparatus for auto journaling of body states and providing derived physiological states utilizing physiological and/or contextual parameter Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080167539A1
US20080167539A1 US11/930,101 US93010107A US2008167539A1 US 20080167539 A1 US20080167539 A1 US 20080167539A1 US 93010107 A US93010107 A US 93010107A US 2008167539 A1 US2008167539 A1 US 2008167539A1
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data
sensor device
device
user
sensor
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US11/930,101
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Eric Teller
Jonathan Farringdon
David Andre
Christopher Pacione
John Stivoric
Scott Safier
Raymond Pelletier
Suresh Vishnubhatla
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Jb Ip Acquisition LLC
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Eric Teller
Jonathan Farringdon
David Andre
Christopher Pacione
John Stivoric
Scott Safier
Raymond Pelletier
Suresh Vishnubhatla
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Priority to US41716302P priority Critical
Priority to US10/682,293 priority patent/US8157731B2/en
Application filed by Eric Teller, Jonathan Farringdon, David Andre, Christopher Pacione, John Stivoric, Scott Safier, Raymond Pelletier, Suresh Vishnubhatla filed Critical Eric Teller
Priority to US11/930,101 priority patent/US20080167539A1/en
Publication of US20080167539A1 publication Critical patent/US20080167539A1/en
First worldwide family litigation filed litigation Critical https://patents.darts-ip.com/?family=32093978&utm_source=google_patent&utm_medium=platform_link&utm_campaign=public_patent_search&patent=US20080167539(A1) "Global patent litigation dataset” by Darts-ip is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Assigned to JB IP ACQUISITION LLC reassignment JB IP ACQUISITION LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: ALIPHCOM, LLC, BODYMEDIA, INC.
Assigned to J FITNESS LLC reassignment J FITNESS LLC UCC FINANCING STATEMENT Assignors: JAWBONE HEALTH HUB, INC.
Assigned to J FITNESS LLC reassignment J FITNESS LLC UCC FINANCING STATEMENT Assignors: JB IP ACQUISITION, LLC
Assigned to J FITNESS LLC reassignment J FITNESS LLC SECURITY INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: JB IP ACQUISITION, LLC
Assigned to ALIPHCOM LLC reassignment ALIPHCOM LLC RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BLACKROCK ADVISORS, LLC
Assigned to J FITNESS LLC reassignment J FITNESS LLC RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: JAWBONE HEALTH HUB, INC., JB IP ACQUISITION, LLC
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • Y10S128/921Diet management

Abstract

Various methods and apparatuses for measuring a state parameter of an individual using signals based on one or more sensors are disclosed. In one embodiment, a first set of signals is used in a first function to determine how a second set of signals is used in one or more second functions to predict the state parameter. In another embodiment, first and second functions are used where the state parameter or an indicator of the state parameter may be obtained from a relationship between the first function and the second function. The state parameter may, for example, include calories consumed or calories burned by the individual. Various methods for making such apparatuses are also disclosed.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a continuation of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/682,293 filed Oct. 9, 2003, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/417,163 filed on Oct. 9, 2002.
  • BACKGROUND
  • 1. Field
  • The present invention relates to methods and apparatuses for measuring a state parameter of an individual using signals based on one or more sensors. The present invention also relates to various methods for making such apparatuses.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • Research has shown that a large number of the top health problems in society are either caused in whole or in part by an unhealthy lifestyle. More and more, our society requires people to lead fast paced, achievement oriented lifestyles that often result in poor eating habits, high stress levels, lack of exercise, poor sleep habits and the inability to find the time to center the mind and relax. Recognizing this fact, people are becoming increasingly interested in establishing a healthier lifestyle.
  • Traditional medicine, embodied in the form of an HMO or similar organizations, does not have the time, the training, or the reimbursement mechanism to address the needs of those individuals interested in a healthier lifestyle. There have been several attempts to meet the needs of these individuals, including a perfusion of fitness programs and exercise equipment, dietary plans, self help books, alternative therapies, and most recently, a plethora of health information web sites on the Internet. Each of these attempts are targeted to empower the individual to take charge and get healthy. Each of these attempts, however, addresses only part of the needs of individuals seeking a healthier lifestyle and ignores many of the real barriers that most individuals face when trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle. These barriers include the fact that the individual is often left to himself or herself to find motivation, to implement a plan for achieving a healthier lifestyle, to monitor progress, and to brainstorm solutions when problems arise; the fact that existing programs are directed to only certain aspects of a healthier lifestyle, and rarely come as a complete package; and the fact that recommendations are often not targeted to the unique characteristics of the individual or his life circumstances.
  • SUMMARY
  • The present invention relates to an apparatus for measuring a state parameter of an individual including a processor, at least two sensors in electronic communication with the processor, at least one of the sensors being a physiological sensor, and a memory for storing software executable by the processor. The software includes instructions for collecting a plurality of sensor signals from the at least two sensors, and utilizing a first set of signals based on one or more of the plurality of sensor signals in a first function, the first function determining how a second set of signals based on one or more of the plurality of sensor signals is utilized in one or more second functions, each of the one or more second functions having an output, wherein one or more of the outputs are used to predict the state parameter of the individual.
  • The present invention also relates to a method of measuring a state parameter of an individual, including collecting a plurality of sensor signals from at least two sensors in electronic communication with a sensor device worn on a body of the individual, at least one of the sensors being a physiological sensor, and utilizing a first set of signals based on one or more of the plurality of sensor signals in a first function, the first function determining how a second set of signals based on one or more of the plurality of sensor signals is utilized in one or more second functions, each of the one or more second functions having an output, wherein one or more of the outputs are used to predict the state parameter of the individual.
  • In one embodiment of either the apparatus or method, the first function recognizes one or more contexts based on the first set of signals and one or more of the second functions is chosen based on the one or more recognized contexts. The outputs of the chosen second functions are used to predict the state parameter of the individual. In another embodiment, the first function recognizes each of a plurality of contexts based on the first set of signals and each of the one or more second functions corresponds to one of the contexts. The first function assigns a weight to each of the one or more second functions based on a recognition probability associated with the corresponding context, and the outputs of the one or more second functions and the weights are used to predict the state parameter of the individual. The outputs may be combined in a post processing step to predict the state parameter. In addition, in either the apparatus or the method, the state parameter may be caloric expenditure the second functions may be regression algorithms, the contexts may comprise rest and active and, the first function may comprise a naïve Bayesian classifier. Where the state parameter is caloric expenditure, caloric consumption data for the individual may be generated and information based on the caloric expenditure data and the caloric consumption data may be displayed, such as energy balance data, rate of weight loss or gain, or information relating to one or more goals of the individual.
  • In one embodiment of the apparatus, the processor and the memory are included in a wearable sensor device. In another embodiment, the apparatus includes a wearable sensor device, the processor and the memory being included in a computing device located separately from the sensor device, wherein the sensor signals are transmitted from the sensor device to the computing device.
  • The present invention also relates to a method of making software for an apparatus for measuring a state parameter of an individual including providing a first sensor device, the first sensor device receiving a plurality of signals from at least two sensors, using the first sensor device to create a first function and one or more second functions, each of the one or more second functions having an output, the first function utilizing a first set of signals based on one or more of the plurality of sensor signals to determine how a second set of signals based on one or more of the plurality of sensor signals is utilized in the one or more second functions, wherein one or more of the outputs are used to predict the state parameter of the individual. The method further includes creating the software including instructions for: (i) receiving a second plurality of signals collected by a second sensor device substantially structurally identical to the first sensor device for a period of time; (ii) utilizing a third set of signals based on one or more of the second plurality of sensor signals in the first function to determine how a fourth set of signals based on one or more of the second plurality of sensor signals is utilized in the one or more second functions; and (iii) utilizing the one or more outputs produced by the one or more second functions from the fourth set of signals to predict the state parameter of the individual. In the method, the step of using the sensor device to create the first function and the one or more second functions may include gathering a first set of the plurality of signals under conditions where the state parameter is present, contemporaneously gathering gold standard data relating to the state parameter, and using one or more machine learning techniques to generate the first function and the one or more second functions from the first set of the plurality of signals and the gold standard data. In addition, A the first function may recognize one or more contexts based on the first set of signals and one or more of the second functions may be chosen based on the one or more recognized contexts, wherein the outputs of the chosen second functions are used to predict the state parameter of the individual. Alternatively, the first function may recognize each of a plurality of contexts based on the first set of signals and each of the one or more second functions may correspond to one of the contexts, wherein the first function assigns a weight to each of the one or more second functions based on a recognition probability associated with the corresponding context, and wherein the outputs of the one or more second functions and the weights are used to predict the state parameter of the individual.
  • One specific embodiment of the present invention relates to a method of measuring energy expenditure of an individual including collecting a plurality of sensor signals from at least two of a body motion sensor, a heat flux sensor, a skin conductance sensor, and a skin temperature sensor, each in electronic communication with a sensor device worn on a body of the individual, and utilizing a first set of signals based on one or more of the plurality of sensor signals in one or more functions to predict the energy expenditure of the individual. The utilizing step may include utilizing the first set of signals in a first function, the first function determining how a second set of signals based on one or more of the plurality of sensor signals is utilized in one or more second functions, each of the one or more second functions having an output, wherein one or more of the outputs are used to predict the energy expenditure of the individual. In addition, the collecting step may include collecting the plurality of sensor signals from a body motion sensor, a heat flux sensor, and a skin conductance sensor, the second set of signals comprising a heat flux high gain average variance (HFvar), a vector sum of transverse and longitudinal accelerometer SADs (VSAD), and a galvanic skin response low gain (GSR), wherein the second functions have the form of A*VSAD+B*HF+C*GSR+D*BMR+E, wherein A, B, C, D and E are constants and BMR is a basal metabolic rate for the individual.
  • The present invention also relates to an apparatus for measuring energy expenditure of an individual including a processor, at least two of a body motion sensor, a heat flux sensor, a skin conductance sensor, and a skin temperature sensor in electronic communication with the processor, and a memory storing software executable by the processor. The software includes instructions for collecting a plurality of sensor signals from the at least two of a body motion sensor, a heat flux sensor, a skin conductance sensor, and a skin temperature sensor, and utilizing a first set of signals based on one or more of the plurality of sensor signals in one or more functions to predict the energy expenditure of the individual. The utilizing instruction may include utilizing the first set of signals in a first function, the first function determining how a second set of signals based on one or more of the plurality of sensor signals is utilized in one or more second functions, each of the one or more second functions having an output, wherein one or more of the outputs are used to predict the energy expenditure of the individual. The collecting instruction may include collecting the plurality of sensor signals from a body motion sensor, a heat flux sensor, and a skin conductance sensor, the second set of signals comprising a heat flux high gain average variance (HFvar), a vector sum of transverse and longitudinal accelerometer SADs (VSAD), and a galvanic skin response low gain (GSR), wherein the second functions have the form of A*VSAD+B*HF+C*GSR+D*BMR+E, wherein A, B, C, D and E are constants and BMR is a basal metabolic rate for the individual.
  • The present invention also relates to a method of making software for an apparatus for measuring energy expenditure of an individual, including providing a first sensor device, the first sensor device receiving a plurality of signals from at least two of a body motion sensor, a heat flux sensor, a skin conductance sensor, and a skin temperature sensor, and using the first sensor device to create one or more functions that predict the energy expenditure of the individual using a first set of signals based on one or more of the plurality of sensor signals. The method further includes creating the software including instructions for: (i) receiving a second plurality of signals collected by a second sensor device substantially structurally identical to the first sensor device for a period of time, the second sensor device receiving the second plurality of signals from at least two of a body motion sensor, a heat flux sensor, a skin conductance sensor, and a skin temperature sensor; and (ii) utilizing a second set of signals based on one or more of the second plurality of sensor signals in the one or more functions to predict the energy expenditure of the individual. The step of using the sensor device to create the one or more functions may include gathering a first set of the plurality of signals under conditions where energy expenditure data for the individual is present, contemporaneously gathering gold standard data relating to the energy expenditure data for the individual, and using one or more machine learning techniques to generate the one or more functions from the first set of the plurality of signals and the gold standard data. In addition, the utilizing instruction may include utilizing the second set of signals in a first function, the first function determining how a third set of signals based on one or more of the second plurality of sensor signals is utilized in one or more second functions, each of the one or more second functions having an output; wherein one or more of the outputs are used to predict the energy expenditure of the individual.
  • In yet another embodiment, the present invention relates to an apparatus for automatically measuring a first state parameter of an individual, including a processor, one or more sensors for generating one or more signals over a period of time, the processor receiving the one or more signals, and a memory storing software executable by the processor. The software includes instructions for inputting one or more signal channels based on the one or more signals into a first function having a first output that predicts one or more second state parameters of the individual and either the first state parameter or an indicator of the first state parameter, wherein the first state parameter may be obtained from the indicator based on a first relationship between the first state parameter and the indicator, inputting the one or more signal channels into a second function having a second output that predicts the one or more second state parameters but not the first state parameter or the indicator of the first state parameter, and obtaining either the first state parameter or the indicator from the first and second outputs based on a second relationship between the first function and the second function, and, if the indicator is obtained, obtaining the first state parameter from the indicator based on the first relationship.
  • The present invention also relates to a method of automatically measuring a first state parameter of an individual, including collecting for a period of time one or more signals from one or more sensors in electronic communication with a sensor device worn on a body of the individual, inputting one or more signal channels based on the one or more signals into a first function having a first output that predicts one or more second state parameters of the individual and either the first state parameter or an indicator of the first state parameter, wherein the first state parameter may be obtained from the indicator based on a first relationship between the first state parameter and the indicator, inputting the one or more signal channels into a second function having a second output that predicts the one or more second state parameters but not the first state parameter or the indicator of the first state parameter, and obtaining either the first state parameter or the indicator from the first and second outputs based on a second relationship between the first function and the second function, and, if the indicator is obtained, obtaining the first state parameter from the indicator based on the first relationship.
  • In either the method or the apparatus, the first state parameter may be a number of calories consumed by the individual during the period of time. In such an embodiment, the indicator may include a first effect on the body of food consumed, and in particular, the indicator may be the thermic effect of food. In the case of thermic effect of food, the first output may comprise total energy expenditure, wherein the one or more second state parameters include basal metabolic rate, activity energy expenditure and adaptive thermogenesis, and the first state parameter may be obtained from the indicator by dividing the indicator by 0.1. In one specific embodiment, the software further includes instructions for generating caloric expenditure data for the individual for the period of time from one or more of the one or more signal channels and displaying information based on the caloric expenditure data and the number of calories consumed by the individual. The apparatus may include a display, such as part of a separate I/O device, for displaying the information based on the caloric expenditure data and the number of calories consumed by the individual.
  • In yet another embodiment, the present invention relates to a method of making software for an apparatus for automatically measuring a first state parameter of an individual. The method includes providing a first sensor device, the first sensor device receiving one or more signals from one or more sensors, using the first sensor device to create a first function having a first output that predicts one or more second state parameters of the individual and either the first state parameter or an indicator of the first state parameter, wherein the first state parameter may be obtained from the indicator based on a first relationship between the first state parameter and the indicator, the first function taking as inputs one or more signal channels based on the one or more signals, and using the first sensor device to create a second function having a second output that predicts the one or more second state parameters but not the first state parameter or the indicator of the first state parameter, the second function taking as inputs the one or more signal channels. The method further includes creating the software including instructions for: (i) receiving a second one or more signals collected by a second sensor device substantially structurally identical to the first sensor device for a period of time; (ii) inputting a second one or more signal channels based on the second one or more signals into the first function and the second function for generating the first output and the second output, respectively; and (iii) obtaining either the first state parameter or the indicator from the first and second outputs generated in the inputting step based on a second relationship between the first function and the second function, and, if the indicator is obtained, obtaining the first state parameter from the indicator based on the first relationship. The step of using the sensor device to create the first function may include gathering a first set of the one or more signals under conditions where the second state parameters and either the first state parameter or the indicator are present, contemporaneously gathering gold standard data relating to the second state parameters and either the first state parameter or the indicator, and using one or more machine learning techniques to generate the first function from the first set of one or more signals and the gold standard data, and the step of using the sensor device to create the second function may include gathering a second set of the one or more signals under conditions where neither the first state parameter nor the indicator are present, contemporaneously gathering second gold standard data relating to the second state parameters but not the first state parameter or the indicator, and using one or more machine learning techniques to generate the second function from the second set of one or more signals and the second gold standard data.
  • In still another alternate embodiment, the present invention relates to a method of measuring caloric consumption of an individual for a time period, including determining a weight differential for the individual between a beginning of the time period and an end of the time period, multiplying the weight differential by a constant, such as 3500, to obtain a caloric differential, measuring a caloric expenditure of the individual for the time period using a wearable sensor device having one or more sensors, and determining the caloric consumption from the caloric differential and the caloric expenditure. The step of measuring the caloric expenditure may comprises collecting a plurality of sensor signals from at least two sensors in electronic communication with the sensor device, at least one of the sensors being a physiological sensor, and utilizing a first set of signals based on one or more of the plurality of sensor signals in a first function, the first function determining how a second set of signals based on one or more of the plurality of sensor signals is utilized in one or more second functions, each of the one or more second functions having an output, wherein one or more of the outputs are used to predict the caloric expenditure.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
  • Further features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description of the present invention, taken in conjunction with the following drawings, in which like reference characters refer to like parts, and in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a diagram of an embodiment of a system for monitoring physiological data and lifestyle over an electronic network according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an embodiment of the sensor device shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an embodiment of the central monitoring unit shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 4 is a block diagram of an alternate embodiment of the central monitoring unit shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 5 is a representation of a preferred embodiment of the Health Manager web page according to an aspect of the present invention;
  • FIG. 6 is a representation of a preferred embodiment of the nutrition web page according to an aspect of the present invention;
  • FIG. 7 is a representation of a preferred embodiment of the activity level web page according to an aspect of the present invention;
  • FIG. 8 is a representation of a preferred embodiment of the mind centering web page according to an aspect of the present invention;
  • FIG. 9 is a representation of a preferred embodiment of the sleep web page according to an aspect of the present invention;
  • FIG. 10 is a representation of a preferred embodiment of the daily activities web page according to an aspect of the present invention;
  • FIG. 11 is a representation of a preferred embodiment of the Health Index web page according to an aspect of the present invention;
  • FIG. 12 is a front view of a specific embodiment of the sensor device shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 13 is a back view of a specific embodiment of the sensor device shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 14 is a side view of a specific embodiment of the sensor device shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 15 is a bottom view of a specific embodiment of the sensor device shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIGS. 16 and 17 are front perspective views of a specific embodiment of the sensor device shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 18 is an exploded side perspective view of a specific embodiment of the sensor device shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 19 is a side view of the sensor device shown in FIGS. 12 through 18 inserted into a battery recharger unit;
  • FIG. 20 is a block diagram illustrating all of the components either mounted on or coupled to the printed circuit board forming a part of the sensor device shown in FIGS. 12 through 18;
  • FIG. 21 is a block diagram of an apparatus for monitoring health, wellness and fitness according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 22 is a front view of an alternate embodiment of a sensor device according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 23 is a back view of an alternate embodiment of a sensor device according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 24 is a cross-sectional view of the sensor device shown in FIG. 22 taken along lines A-A;
  • FIG. 25 is a cross-sectional view of the sensor device shown in FIG. 22 taken along lines B-B;
  • FIG. 26 is a cross-sectional view of the sensor device shown in FIG. 22 taken along lines A-A showing the internal components of the housing of the sensor device;
  • FIG. 27 is a block diagram illustrating the components mounted on or coupled to the printed circuit board forming a part of an embodiment of the sensor device shown in FIGS. 22 through 26;
  • FIG. 28 is a front view of an alternate embodiment of a sensor device according to the present invention including an LCD;
  • FIG. 29 is a block diagram illustrating the components mounted on or coupled to the printed circuit board forming a part of an alternate embodiment of the sensor device shown in FIGS. 22 through 26;
  • FIGS. 30 and 31 are isometric views of an alternate embodiment of a sensor device according to the present invention having a housing adapted to be removably attached to a flexible section;
  • FIG. 32 is an isometric view of a further alternate embodiment of a sensor device according to the present invention having a housing adapted to be removably attached to a flexible section;
  • FIG. 33 is an isometric view of an embodiment of a sensor device having adjustable operating parameters according to an aspect of the present invention;
  • FIG. 34 is an isometric view of an alternate embodiment of a sensor device according to the present invention having a housing having an adhesive material on an external surface thereof for removably attaching the housing to the body;
  • FIGS. 35A and B are cross-sectional views of a housing for a prior art sensor device;
  • FIGS. 35C through H are cross-sectional views of various embodiments of a housing for a sensor device according to an aspect of the present invention taken along lines C-C in FIG. 23.
  • FIG. 36A is a cross-sectional view of a housing for a prior art sensor device;
  • FIGS. 36B through H are cross-sectional views of various embodiments of a housing for a sensor device according to an aspect of the present invention taken along lines D-D in FIG. 23;
  • FIG. 37 is an isometric view of an embodiment of a housing for a sensor device according to the present invention having a bottom or inner surface having a concavity in one direction and a convexity in another direction;
  • FIGS. 38A through D are cross-sectional views of a housing for a sensor device having a flat top surface and flat lateral ends;
  • FIGS. 39A through F are cross-sectional views of various embodiments of a housing for a sensor device having surfaces designed to deflect objects and prevent movement of the housing;
  • FIG. 39G is a cross-sectional view of the housing shown in FIG. 39E attached to a flexible section;
  • FIG. 40 is a top plan view of a data input and output device according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 41 is a partial cross-sectional view of the data input and output device shown in FIG. 40 taken along lines A-A in FIG. 40;
  • FIG. 42 is a block diagram illustrating the operation of prior art software that enables a prior art input device having a dial and a button to control the operation of a computer by identifying and selecting hot spots;
  • FIGS. 43A-F is a top plan view of a data input and output device according to an embodiment of the present invention in which energy related data for an individual is collected or generated by the data input and output device and a sensor device in electrical communication therewith and displayed by the data input and output device on an LCD provided thereon;
  • FIGS. 43G and H are a plan views of interfaces for entering nutrition information into a data input and output device according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIGS. 43I and J are scatter plots between estimates of the caloric content in meals consumed using an embodiment of the present invention and caloric content computed from full diet diary entries;
  • FIG. 44 is a block diagram showing the components attached or otherwise coupled to a printed circuit board housed within a data input and output device according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 45 is a partial cross-sectional view of a data input and output device according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention having one or more sensors that enable it to collect data indicative of physiological and/or contextual parameters;
  • FIG. 46 is a block diagram of an alternate embodiment of the present invention in which a data input and output device acts as a hub or terminal for collection and, optionally, processing of data from a variety of sources;
  • FIG. 47 is a block diagram showing the format of algorithms that are developed according to an aspect of the present invention; and
  • FIG. 48 is a block diagram illustrating an example algorithm for predicting energy expenditure according to the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • In general, according to the present invention, data relating to the physiological state, the lifestyle and certain contextual parameters of an individual is collected and transmitted, either subsequently or in real-time, to a site, preferably remote from the individual, where it is stored for later manipulation and presentation to a recipient, preferably over an electronic network such as the Internet. Contextual parameters as used herein means parameters relating to the environment, surroundings and location of the individual, including, but not limited to, air quality, sound quality, ambient temperature, global positioning and the like. Referring to FIG. 1, located at user location 5 is sensor device 10 adapted to be placed in proximity with at least a portion of the human body. Sensor device 10 is preferably worn by an individual user on his or her body, for example as part of a garment such as a form fitting shirt, or as part of an arm band or the like. Sensor device 10, includes one or more sensors, which are adapted to generate signals in response to physiological characteristics of an individual, and a microprocessor. Proximity as used herein means that the sensors of sensor device 10 are separated from the individual's body by a material or the like, or a distance such that the capabilities of the sensors are not impeded.
  • Sensor device 10 generates data indicative of various physiological parameters of an individual, such as the individual's heart rate, pulse rate, beat-to-beat heart variability, EKG or ECG, respiration rate, skin temperature, core body temperature, heat flow off the body, galvanic skin response or GSR, EMG, EEG, EOG, blood pressure, body fat, hydration level, activity level, oxygen consumption, glucose or blood sugar level, body position, pressure on muscles or bones, and UV radiation exposure and absorption. In certain cases, the data indicative of the various physiological parameters is the signal or signals themselves generated by the one or more sensors and in certain other cases the data is calculated by the microprocessor based on the signal or signals generated by the one or more sensors. Methods for generating data indicative of various physiological parameters and sensors to be used therefor are well known. Table 1 provides several examples of such well known methods and shows the parameter in question, the method used, the sensor device used, and the signal that is generated. Table 1 also provides an indication as to whether further processing based on the generated signal is required to generate the data.
  • TABLE 1 Further Parameter Method Sensor Signal Processing Heart Rate EKG 2 Electrodes DC Voltage Yes Pulse Rate BVP LED Emitter and Change in Resistance Yes Optical Sensor Beat-to-Beat Heart Rate 2 Electrodes DC Voltage Yes Variability EKG Skin Surface 3-10 Electrodes DC Voltage No Potentials Respiration Rate Chest Volume Strain Gauge Change in Resistance Yes Change Skin Temperature Surface Thermistors Change in Resistance Yes Temperature Probe Core Temperature Esophageal or Thermistors Change in Resistance Yes Rectal Probe Heat Flow Heat Flux Thermopile DC Voltage Yes Galvanic Skin Skin Conductance 2 Electrodes Change in Resistance No Response EMG Skin Surface 3 Electrodes DC Voltage No Potentials EEG Skin Surface Multiple Electrodes DC Voltage Yes Potentials EOG Eye Movement Thin Film DC Voltage Yes Piezoelectric Sensors Blood Pressure Non-Invasive Electronic Change in Resistance Yes Korotkuff Sounds Sphygromarometer Body Fat Body Impedance 2 Active Electrodes Change in Impedance Yes Activity in Body Movement Accelerometer DC Voltage, Yes Interpreted G Capacitance Changes Shocks per Minute Oxygen Oxygen Uptake Electro-chemical DC Voltage Change Yes Consumption Glucose Level Non-Invasive Electro-chemical DC Voltage Change Yes Body Position (e.g. N/A Mercury Switch DC Voltage Change Yes supine, erect, Array sitting) Muscle Pressure N/A Thin Film DC Voltage Change Yes Piezoelectric Sensors UV Radiation N/A UV Sensitive Photo DC Voltage Change Yes Absorption Cells
  • The types of data listed in Table 1 are intended to be examples of the types of data that can be generated by sensor device 10. It is to be understood that other types of data relating to other parameters can be generated by sensor device 10 without departing from the scope of the present invention.
  • The microprocessor of sensor device 10 may be programmed to summarize and analyze the data. For example, the microprocessor can be programmed to calculate an average, minimum or maximum heart rate or respiration rate over a defined period of time, such as ten minutes. Sensor device 10 may be able to derive information relating to an individual's physiological state based on the data indicative of one or more physiological parameters. The microprocessor of sensor device 10 is programmed to derive such information using known methods based on the data indicative of one or more physiological parameters. Table 2 provides examples of the type of information that can be derived, and indicates some of the types of data that can be used therefor.
  • TABLE 2 Derived Information Data Used Ovulation Skin temperature, core temperature, oxygen consumption Sleep onset/wake Beat-to-beat variability, heart rate, pulse rate, respiration rate, skin temperature, core temperature, heat flow, galvanic skin response, EMG, EEG, EOG, blood pressure, oxygen consumption Calories burned Heart rate, pulse rate, respiration rate, heat flow, activity, oxygen consumption Basal metabolic rate Heart rate, pulse rate, respiration rate, heat flow, activity, oxygen consumption Basal temperature Skin temperature, core temperature Activity level Heart rate, pulse rate, respiration rate, heat flow, activity, oxygen consumption Stress level EKG, beat-to-beat variability, heart rate, pulse rate, respiration rate, skin temperature, heat flow, galvanic skin response, EMG, EEG, blood pressure, activity, oxygen consumption Relaxation level EKG, beat-to-beat variability, heart rate, pulse rate, respiration rate, skin temperature, heat flow, galvanic skin response, EMG, EEG, blood pressure, activity, oxygen consumption Maximum oxygen consumption rate EKG, heart rate, pulse rate, respiration rate, heat flow, blood pressure, activity, oxygen consumption Rise time or the time it takes to rise from Heart rate, pulse rate, heat flow, oxygen consumption a resting rate to 85% of a target maximum Time in zone or the time heart rate was Heart rate, pulse rate, heat flow, oxygen consumption above 85% of a target maximum Recovery time or the time it takes heart Heart rate, pulse rate, heat flow, oxygen consumption rate to return to a resting rate after heart rate was above 85% of a target maximum
  • Additionally, sensor device 10 may also generate data indicative of various contextual parameters relating to the environment surrounding the individual. For example, sensor device 10 can generate data indicative of the air quality, sound level/quality, light quality or ambient temperature near the individual, or even the global positioning of the individual. Sensor device 10 may include one or more sensors for generating signals in response to contextual characteristics relating to the environment surrounding the individual, the signals ultimately being used to generate the type of data described above. Such sensors are well known, as are methods for generating contextual parametric data such as air quality, sound level/quality, ambient temperature and global positioning.
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an embodiment of sensor device 10. Sensor device 10 includes at least one sensor 12 and microprocessor 20. Depending upon the nature of the signal generated by sensor 12, the signal can be sent through one or more of amplifier 14, conditioning circuit 16, and analog-to-digital converter 18, before being sent to microprocessor 20. For example, where sensor 12 generates an analog signal in need of amplification and filtering, that signal can be sent to amplifier 14, and then on to conditioning circuit 16, which may, for example, be a band pass filter. The amplified and conditioned analog signal can then be transferred to analog to digital converter 18, where it is converted to a digital signal. The digital signal is then sent to microprocessor 20. Alternatively, if sensor 12 generates a digital signal, that signal can be sent directly to microprocessor 20.
  • A digital signal or signals representing certain physiological and/or contextual characteristics of the individual user may be used by microprocessor 20 to calculate or generate data indicative of physiological and/or contextual parameters of the individual user. Microprocessor 20 is programmed to derive information relating to at least one aspect of the individual's physiological state. It should be understood that microprocessor 20 may also comprise other forms of processors or processing devices, such as a microcontroller, or any other device that can be programmed to perform the functionality described herein.
  • The data indicative of physiological and/or contextual parameters can, according to one embodiment of the present invention, be sent to memory 22, such as flash memory, where it is stored until uploaded in the manner to be described below. Although memory 22 is shown in FIG. 2 as a discrete element, it will be appreciated that it may also be part of microprocessor 20. Sensor device 10 also includes input/output circuitry 24, which is adapted to output and receive as input certain data signals in the manners to be described herein. Thus, memory 22 of the sensor device 10 will build up, over time, a store of data relating to the individual user's body and/or environment. That data is periodically uploaded from sensor device 10 and sent to remote central monitoring unit 30, as shown in FIG. 1, where it is stored in a database for subsequent processing and presentation to the user, preferably through a local or global electronic network such as the Internet. This uploading of data can be an automatic process that is initiated by sensor device 10 periodically or upon the happening of an event such as the detection by sensor device 10 of a heart rate below a certain level, or can be initiated by the individual user or some third party authorized by the user, preferably according to some periodic schedule, such as every day at 10:00 p.m. Alternatively, rather than storing data in memory 22, sensor device 10 may continuously upload data in real time.
  • The uploading of data from sensor device 10 to central monitoring unit 30 for storage can be accomplished in various ways. In one embodiment, the data collected by sensor device 10 is uploaded by first transferring the data to personal computer 35 shown in FIG. 1 by means of physical connection 40, which, for example, may be a serial connection such as an RS232 or USB port. This physical connection may also be accomplished by using a cradle, not shown, that is electronically coupled to personal computer 35 into which sensor device 10 can be inserted, as is common with many commercially available personal digital assistants. The uploading of data could be initiated by then pressing a button on the cradle or could be initiated automatically upon insertion of sensor device 10. The data collected by sensor device 10 may be uploaded by first transferring the data to personal computer 35 by means of short range wireless transmission, such as infrared or RF transmission, as indicated at 45.
  • Once the data is received by personal computer 35, it is optionally compressed and encrypted by any one of a variety of well known methods and then sent out over a local or global electronic network, preferably the Internet, to central monitoring unit 30. It should be noted that personal computer 35 can be replaced by any computing device that has access to and that can transmit and receive data through the electronic network, such as, for example, a personal digital assistant such as the Palm VII sold by Palm, Inc., or the Blackberry 2-way pager sold by Research in Motion, Inc.
  • Alternatively, the data collected by sensor device 10, after being encrypted and, optionally, compressed by microprocessor 20, may be transferred to wireless device 50, such as a 2 way pager or cellular phone, for subsequent long distance wireless transmission to local telco site 55 using a wireless protocol such as e mail or as ASCII or binary data. Local telco site 55 includes tower 60 that receives the wireless transmission from wireless device 50 and computer 65 connected to tower 60. According to the preferred embodiment, computer 65 has access to the relevant electronic network, such as the Internet, and is used to transmit the data received in the form of the wireless transmission to the central monitoring unit 30 over the Internet. Although wireless device 50 is shown in FIG. 1 as a discrete device coupled to sensor device 10, it or a device having the same or similar functionality may be embedded as part of sensor device 10.
  • Sensor device 10 may be provided with a button to be used to time stamp events such as time to bed, wake time, and time of meals. These time stamps are stored in sensor device 10 and are uploaded to central monitoring unit 30 with the rest of the data as described above. The time stamps may include a digitally recorded voice message that, after being uploaded to central monitoring unit 30, are translated using voice recognition technology into text or some other information format that can be used by central monitoring unit 30.
  • In addition to using sensor device 10 to automatically collect physiological data relating to an individual user, a kiosk could be adapted to collect such data by, for example, weighing the individual, providing a sensing device similar to sensor device 10 on which an individual places his or her hand or another part of his or her body, or by scanning the individual's body using, for example, laser technology or an iStat blood analyzer. The kiosk would be provided with processing capability as described herein and access to the relevant electronic network, and would thus be adapted to send the collected data to the central monitoring unit 30 through the electronic network. A desktop sensing device, again similar to sensor device 10, on which an individual places his or her hand or another part of his or her body may also be provided. For example, such a desktop sensing device could be a blood pressure monitor in which an individual places his or her arm. An individual might also wear a ring having a sensor device 10 incorporated therein. A base, not shown, could then be provided which is adapted to be coupled to the ring. The desktop sensing device or the base just described may then be coupled to a computer such as personal computer 35 by means of a physical or short range wireless connection so that the collected data could be uploaded to central monitoring unit 30 over the relevant electronic network in the manner described above. A mobile device such as, for example, a personal digital assistant, might also be provided with a sensor device 10 incorporated therein. Such a sensor device 10 would be adapted to collect data when mobile device is placed in proximity with the individual's body, such as by holding the device in the palm of one's hand, and upload the collected data to central monitoring unit 30 in any of the ways described herein.
  • Furthermore, in addition to collecting data by automatically sensing such data in the manners described above, individuals can also manually provide data relating to various life activities that is ultimately transferred to and stored at central monitoring unit 30. An individual user can access a web site maintained by central monitoring unit 30 and can directly input information relating to life activities by entering text freely, by responding to questions posed by the web site, or by clicking through dialog boxes provided by the web site. Central monitoring unit 30 can also be adapted to periodically send electronic mail messages containing questions designed to elicit information relating to life activities to personal computer 35 or to some other device that can receive electronic mail, such as a personal digital assistant, a pager, or a cellular phone. The individual would then provide data relating to life activities to central monitoring unit 30 by responding to the appropriate electronic mail message with the relevant data. Central monitoring unit 30 may also be adapted to place a telephone call to an individual user in which certain questions would be posed to the individual user. The user could respond to the questions by entering information using a telephone keypad, or by voice, in which case conventional voice recognition technology would be used by central monitoring unit 30 to receive and process the response. The telephone call may also be initiated by the user, in which case the user could speak to a person directly or enter information using the keypad or by voice/voice recognition technology. Central monitoring unit 30 may also be given access to a source of information controlled by the user, for example the user's electronic calendar such as that provided with the Outlook product sold by Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Wash., from which it could automatically collect information. The data relating to life activities may relate to the eating, sleep, exercise, mind centering or relaxation, and/or daily living habits, patterns and/or activities of the individual. Thus, sample questions may include: What did you have for lunch today? What time did you go to sleep last night? What time did you wake up this morning? How long did you run on the treadmill today?
  • Feedback may also be provided to a user directly through sensor device 10 in a visual form, for example through an LED or LCD or by constructing sensor device 10, at least in part, of a thermochromatic plastic, in the form of an acoustic signal or in the form of tactile feedback such as vibration. Such feedback may be a reminder or an alert to eat a meal or take medication or a supplement such as a vitamin, to engage in an activity such as exercise or meditation, or to drink water when a state of dehydration is detected. Additionally, a reminder or alert can be issued in the event that a particular physiological parameter such as ovulation has been detected, a level of calories burned during a workout has been achieved or a high heart rate or respiration rate has been encountered.
  • As will be apparent to those of skill in the art, it may be possible to Adownload@ data from central monitoring unit 30 to sensor device 10. The flow of data in such a download process would be substantially the reverse of that described above with respect to the upload of data from sensor device 10. Thus, it is possible that the firmware of microprocessor 20 of sensor device 10 can be updated or altered remotely, i.e., the microprocessor can be reprogrammed, by downloading new firmware to sensor device 10 from central monitoring unit 30 for such parameters as timing and sample rates of sensor device 10. Also, the reminders/alerts provided by sensor device 10 may be set by the user using the web site maintained by central monitoring unit 30 and subsequently downloaded to the sensor device 10.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, a block diagram of an embodiment of central monitoring unit 30 is shown. Central monitoring unit 30 includes CSU/DSU 70 which is connected to router 75, the main function of which is to take data requests or traffic, both incoming and outgoing, and direct such requests and traffic for processing or viewing on the web site maintained by central monitoring unit 30. Connected to router 75 is firewall 80. The main purpose of firewall 80 is to protect the remainder of central monitoring unit 30 from unauthorized or malicious intrusions. Switch 85, connected to firewall 80, is used to direct data flow between middleware servers 95 a through 95 c and database server 110. Load balancer 90 is provided to spread the workload of incoming requests among the identically configured middleware servers 95 a through 95 c. Load balancer 90, a suitable example of which is the F5 ServerIron product sold by Foundry Networks, Inc. of San Jose, Calif., analyzes the availability of each middleware server 95 a through 95 c, and the amount of system resources being used in each middleware server 95 a through 95 c, in order to spread tasks among them appropriately.
  • Central monitoring unit 30 includes network storage device 100, such as a storage area network or SAN, which acts as the central repository for data. In particular, network storage device 100 comprises a database that stores all data gathered for each individual user in the manners described above. An example of a suitable network storage device 100 is the Symmetrix product sold by EMC Corporation of Hopkinton, Mass. Although only one network storage device 100 is shown in FIG. 3, it will be understood that multiple network storage devices of various capacities could be used depending on the data storage needs of central monitoring unit 30. Central monitoring unit 30 also includes database server 110 which is coupled to network storage device 100. Database server 110 is made up of two main components: a large scale multiprocessor server and an enterprise type software server component such as the 8/8i component sold by Oracle Corporation of Redwood City, Calif., or the 506 7 component sold by Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Wash. The primary functions of database server 110 are that of providing access upon request to the data stored in network storage device 100, and populating network storage device 100 with new data. Coupled to network storage device 100 is controller 115, which typically comprises a desktop personal computer, for managing the data stored in network storage device 100.
  • Middleware servers 95 a through 95 c, a suitable example of which is the 220R Dual Processor sold by Sun Microsystems, Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., each contain software for generating and maintaining the corporate or home web page or pages of the web site maintained by central monitoring unit 30. As is known in the art, a web page refers to a block or blocks of data available on the World-Wide Web comprising a file or files written in Hypertext Markup Language or HTML, and a web site commonly refers to any computer on the Internet running a World-Wide Web server process. The corporate or home web page or pages are the opening or landing web page or pages that are accessible by all members of the general public that visit the site by using the appropriate uniform resource locator or URL. As is known in the art, URLs are the form of address used on the World-Wide Web and provide a standard way of specifying the location of an object, typically a web page, on the Internet. Middleware servers 95 a through 95 c also each contain software for generating and maintaining the web pages of the web site of central monitoring unit 30 that can only be accessed by individuals that register and become members of central monitoring unit 30. The member users will be those individuals who wish to have their data stored at central monitoring unit 30. Access by such member users is controlled using passwords for security purposes. Preferred embodiments of those web pages are described in detail below and are generated using collected data that is stored in the database of network storage device 100.
  • Middleware servers 95 a through 95 c also contain software for requesting data from and writing data to network storage device 100 through database server 110. When an individual user desires to initiate a session with the central monitoring unit 30 for the purpose of entering data into the database of network storage device 100, viewing his or her data stored in the database of network storage device 100, or both, the user visits the home web page of central monitoring unit 30 using a browser program such as Internet Explorer distributed by Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Wash., and logs in as a registered user. Load balancer 90 assigns the user to one of the middleware servers 95 a through 95 c, identified as the chosen middleware server. A user will preferably be assigned to a chosen middleware server for each entire session. The chosen middleware server authenticates the user using any one of many well known methods, to ensure that only the true user is permitted to access the information in the database. A member user may also grant access to his or her data to a third party such as a health care provider or a personal trainer. Each authorized third party may be given a separate password and may view the member user's data using a conventional browser. It is therefore possible for both the user and the third party to be the recipient of the data.
  • When the user is authenticated, the chosen middleware server requests, through database server 110, the individual user's data from network storage device 100 for a predetermined time period. The predetermined time period is preferably thirty days. The requested data, once received from network storage device 100, is temporarily stored by the chosen middleware server in cache memory. The cached data is used by the chosen middleware server as the basis for presenting information, in the form of web pages, to the user again through the user's browser. Each middleware server 95 a through 95 c is provided with appropriate software for generating such web pages, including software for manipulating and performing calculations utilizing the data to put the data in appropriate format for presentation to the user. Once the user ends his or her session, the data is discarded from cache. When the user initiates a new session, the process for obtaining and caching data for that user as described above is repeated. This caching system thus ideally requires that only one call to the network storage device 100 be made per session, thereby reducing the traffic that database server 110 must handle. Should a request from a user during a particular session require data that is outside of a predetermined time period of cached data already retrieved, a separate call to network storage device 100 may be performed by the chosen middleware server. The predetermined time period should be chosen, however, such that such additional calls are minimized. Cached data may also be saved in cache memory so that it can be reused when a user starts a new session, thus eliminating the need to initiate a new call to network storage device 100.
  • As described in connection with Table 2, the microprocessor of sensor device 10 may be programmed to derive information relating to an individual's physiological state based on the data indicative of one or more physiological parameters. Central monitoring unit 30, and preferably middleware servers 95 a through 95 c, may also be similarly programmed to derive such information based on the data indicative of one or more physiological parameters.
  • It is also contemplated that a user will input additional data during a session, for example, information relating to the user's eating or sleeping habits. This additional data is preferably stored by the chosen middleware server in a cache during the duration of the user's session. When the user ends the session, this additional new data stored in a cache is transferred by the chosen middleware server to database server 110 for population in network storage device 100. Alternatively, in addition to being stored in a cache for potential use during a session, the input data may also be immediately transferred to database server 110 for population in network storage device 100, as part of a write-through cache system which is well known in the art.
  • Data collected by sensor device 10 shown in FIG. 1 is periodically uploaded to central monitoring unit 30. Either by long distance wireless transmission or through personal computer 35, a connection to central monitoring unit 30 is made through an electronic network, preferably the Internet. In particular, connection is made to load balancer 90 through CSU/DSU 70, router 75, firewall 80 and switch 85. Load balancer 90 then chooses one of the middleware servers 95 a through 95 c to handle the upload of data, hereafter called the chosen middleware server. The chosen middleware server authenticates the user using any one of many well known methods. If authentication is successful, the data is uploaded to the chosen middleware server as described above, and is ultimately transferred to database server 110 for population in the network storage device 100.
  • Referring to FIG. 4, an alternate embodiment of central monitoring unit 30 is shown. In addition to the elements shown and described with respect to FIG. 3, the embodiment of the central monitoring unit 30 shown in FIG. 4 includes a mirror network storage device 120 which is a redundant backup of network storage device 100. Coupled to mirror network storage device 120 is controller 122. Data from network storage device 100 is periodically copied to mirror network storage device 120 for data redundancy purposes.
  • Third parties such as insurance companies or research institutions may be given access, possibly for a fee, to certain of the information stored in mirror network storage device 120. Preferably, in order to maintain the confidentiality of the individual users who supply data to central monitoring unit 30, these third parties are not given access to such user's individual database records, but rather are only given access to the data stored in mirror network storage device 120 in aggregate form. Such third parties may be able to access the information stored in mirror network storage device 120 through the Internet using a conventional browser program. Requests from third parties may come in through CSU/DSU 70, router 75, firewall 80 and switch 85. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, a separate load balancer 130 is provided for spreading tasks relating to the accessing and presentation of data from mirror drive array 120 among identically configured middleware servers 135 a through 135 c. Middleware servers 135 a through 135 c each contain software for enabling the third parties to, using a browser, formulate queries for information from mirror network storage device 120 through separate database server 125. Middleware servers 135 a through 135 c also contain software for presenting the information obtained from mirror network storage device 120 to the third parties over the Internet in the form of web pages. In addition, the third parties can choose from a series of prepared reports that have information packaged along subject matter lines, such as various demographic categories.
  • As will be apparent to one of skill in the art, instead of giving these third parties access to the backup data stored in mirror network storage device 120, the third parties may be given access to the data stored in network storage device 100. Also, instead of providing load balancer 130 and middleware servers 135 a through 135 c, the same functionality, although at a sacrificed level of performance, could be provided by load balancer 90 and middleware servers 95 a through 95 c.
  • When an individual user first becomes a registered user or member, that user completes a detailed survey. The purposes of the survey are to: identify unique characteristics/circumstances for each user that they might need to address in order to maximize the likelihood that they will implement and maintain a healthy lifestyle as suggested by central monitoring unit 30; gather baseline data which will be used to set initial goals for the individual user and facilitate the calculation and display of certain graphical data output such as the Health Index pistons; identify unique user characteristics and circumstances that will help central monitoring unit 30 customize the type of content provided to the user in the Health Manager's Daily Dose; and identify unique user characteristics and circumstances that the Health Manager can guide the user to address as possible barriers to a healthy lifestyle through the problem-solving function of the Health Manager.
  • The specific information to be surveyed may include: key individual temperamental characteristics, including activity level, regularity of eating, sleeping, and bowel habits, initial response to situations, adaptability, persistence, threshold of responsiveness, intensity of reaction, and quality of mood; the user's level of independent functioning, i.e., self-organization and management, socialization, memory, and academic achievement skills; the user's ability to focus and sustain attention, including the user's level of arousal, cognitive tempo, ability to filter distractions, vigilance, and self-monitoring; the user's current health status including current weight, height, and blood pressure, most recent general physician visit, gynecological exam, and other applicable physician/healthcare contacts, current medications and supplements, allergies, and a review of current symptoms and/or health-related behaviors; the user's past health history, i.e., illnesses/surgeries, family history, and social stress events, such as divorce or loss of a job, that have required adjustment by the individual; the user's beliefs, values and opinions about health priorities, their ability to alter their behavior and, what might contribute to stress in their life, and how they manage it; the user's degree of self-awareness, empathy, empowerment, and self-esteem, and the user's current daily routines for eating, sleeping, exercise, relaxation and completing activities of daily living; and the user's perception of the temperamental characteristics of two key persons in their life, for example, their spouse, a friend, a co-worker, or their boss, and whether there are clashes present in their relationships that might interfere with a healthy lifestyle or contribute to stress.
  • Each member user will have access, through the home web page of central monitoring unit 30, to a series of web pages customized for that user, referred to as the Health Manager. The opening Health Manager web page 150 is shown in FIG. 5. The Health Manager web pages are the main workspace area for the member user. The Health Manager web pages comprise a utility through which central monitoring unit 30 provides various types and forms of data, commonly referred to as analytical status data, to the user that is generated from the data it collects or generates, namely one or more of: the data indicative of various physiological parameters generated by sensor device 10; the data derived from the data indicative of various physiological parameters; the data indicative of various contextual parameters generated by sensor device 10; and the data input by the user. Analytical status data is characterized by the application of certain utilities or algorithms to convert one or more of the data indicative of various physiological parameters generated by sensor device 10, the data derived from the data indicative of various physiological parameters, the data indicative of various contextual parameters generated by sensor device 10, and the data input by the user into calculated health, wellness and lifestyle indicators. For example, based on data input by the user relating to the foods he or she has eaten, things such as calories and amounts of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and certain vitamins can be calculated. As another example, skin temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, heat flow and/or GSR can be used to provide an indicator to the user of his or her stress level over a desired time period. As still another example, skin temperature, heat flow, beat-to-beat heart variability, heart rate, pulse rate, respiration rate, core temperature, galvanic skin response, EMG, EEG, EOG, blood pressure, oxygen consumption, ambient sound and body movement or motion as detected by a device such as an accelerometer can be used to provide indicators to the user of his or her sleep patterns over a desired time period.
  • Located on the opening Health Manager web page 150 is Health Index 155. Health Index 155 is a graphical utility used to measure and provide feedback to member users regarding their performance and the degree to which they have succeeded in reaching a healthy daily routine suggested by central monitoring unit 30. Health Index 155 thus provides an indication for the member user to track his or her progress. Health Index 155 includes six categories relating to the user's health and lifestyle: Nutrition, Activity Level, Mind Centering, Sleep, Daily Activities and How You Feel. The Nutrition category relates to what, when and how much a person eats and drinks. The Activity Level category relates to how much a person moves around. The Mind Centering category relates to the quality and quantity of time a person spends engaging in some activity that allows the body to achieve a state of profound relaxation while the mind becomes highly alert and focused. The Sleep category relates to the quality and quantity of a person's sleep. The Daily Activities category relates to the daily responsibilities and health risks people encounter. Finally, the How You Feel category relates to the general perception that a person has about how they feel on a particular day. Each category has an associated level indicator or piston that indicates, preferably on a scale ranging from poor to excellent, how the user is performing with respect to that category.
  • When each member user completes the initial survey described above, a profile is generated that provides the user with a summary of his or her relevant characteristics and life circumstances. A plan and/or set of goals is provided in the form of a suggested healthy daily routine. The suggested healthy daily routine may include any combination of specific suggestions for incorporating proper nutrition, exercise, mind centering, sleep, and selected activities of daily living in the user's life. Prototype schedules may be offered as guides for how these suggested activities can be incorporated into the user's life. The user may periodically retake the survey, and based on the results, the items discussed above will be adjusted accordingly.
  • The Nutrition category is calculated from both data input by the user and sensed by sensor device 10. The data input by the user comprises the time and duration of breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks, and the foods eaten, the supplements such as vitamins that are taken, and the water and other liquids consumed during a relevant, pre-selected time period. Based upon this data and on stored data relating to known properties of various foods, central monitoring unit 30 calculates well known nutritional food values such as calories and amounts of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, etc., consumed.
  • The Nutrition Health Index piston level is preferably determined with respect to the following suggested healthy daily routine: eat at least three meals; eat a varied diet consisting of 6-11 servings of bread, pasta, cereal, and rice, 2-4 servings fruit, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-3 servings of fish, meat, poultry, dry beans, eggs, and nuts, and 2-3 servings of milk, yogurt and cheese; and drink 8 or more 8 ounce glasses of water. This routine may be adjusted based on information about the user, such as sex, age, height and/or weight. Certain nutritional targets may also be set by the user or for the user, relating to daily calories, protein, fiber, fat, carbohydrates, and/or water consumption and percentages of total consumption. Parameters utilized in the calculation of the relevant piston level include the number of meals per day, the number of glasses of water, and the types and amounts of food eaten each day as input by the user.
  • Nutritional information is presen