Topic: Every atom on the earth connected to the Internet: the future for healthcare

In 2008, the number of devices connected to the Internet exceeded the number of people in the world. These devices are not just Smartphones, Tablets and Computers, but objects and sensors of all types. As an example, there is a Belgian company which equipped all animals on a farm with wireless sensors. This way, the farmer receives a notification when an animal is sick, pregnant, etc. With this system, each animal generates up to 200MB of data each year which is stored in the ‘Cloud’. And this is just the beginning of ‘The Internet of Things’ (IoT)!

In the future, devices will communicate even more with each other, so they build their own intelligence. Suppose you have an appointment at 8:30 am, but your car detects a traffic jam on your route so the traveling time is extended by 15min. Your Smartphone will be informed and will forward your alarm clock at least 15min and your coffee machine prepares your coffee 15min earlier. In addition, with the new IP6 standard up to 340,282,366,920,938,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 devices may connect to the Internet. This means that there are 100 addresses for each atom on the earth. So ‘The Internet of Things’ is far from complete and is still growing every year. Already in 2011, 20 families generated more Internet traffic than the entire Internet traffic in 2008. These are only a few examples what ‘The Internet of Things can offer, in the near future.

The industry which rapidly integrates ‘The Internet of Things’, is healthcare. Let’s think about taking a pill on a day-to-day basis, and chances we sometimes forget. But thanks to a new technology, this can be avoided. A company has developed a sensor which is swallowable so it can be integrated in the medication pills. This way, doctors may, with the consent of the patient, obtain a clear overview at their workplace of the time when the medication was taken and the effectiveness. This offers the advantage that doctors can monitor their patients even better. And this is not where it ends, as technological limitations are receding exponentially. When billions of healthcare units are connected, talking and learning, the only limitation will be our own imaginations.

Some companies in the healthcare  industry challenge 25 European engineering students to devise new concepts for the future of healthcare in an Intensive Program of 14 days at KU Leuven @ KAHO Sint- Lieven . This year the department of Industrial Engineering (IIW) Electronics – ICT organizes the course. What makes this an interesting program, is the wide variety of background knowledge of the students. The students participating are delegated from KULLOC Gent Electronics Engineers, Haute Ecole Henri Spaak (Brussels) IT Engineers, FH JOANNEUM (Graz) Interaction Designers and Hes -so Valais Wallis Embedded System Engineers. The students get lectures from guest speakers from both the industry and the healthcare sector, to get an inside about the current healthcare and the possible bottlenecks. This is the starting point for the students to lift the limitations on their imagination and see how the sector can evolve through ‘The Internet of Things’.

Their ideas may not be limited by the current limitations of the technology. They are expected to thoroughly develop a concept and build a prototype with the current technology. For this, they can take advantage of the workshops and lectures, which dovetail within the subject, given by the different partners. A the end, the students will present and demonstrate their prototype and ideas during the closing event held on a unique location in Gent for fellow-students, professors, industry, press, etc.

Are you interested in the students’ concepts and associated prototypes, you can witness the presentations and demonstrations on Thursday, February 13th at 20h in de Oude Vismijn, Stint Veerleplein 5, 9000 Gent. The doors open at 19h30.



In the Internet of Things (IoT), devices gather and share information directly with each other and the cloud, making it possible to collect, record and analyze new data streams faster and more accurately. That suggests all sorts of interesting possibilities across a range of industries: cars that sense
wear and tear and self-schedule maintenance or trains that dynamically calculate and report projected arrival times to waiting passengers.

But nowhere does the IoT offer greater promise than in the field of healthcare, where its principles are already being applied to improve access to care, increase the quality of care and most importantly reduce the cost of care. At Freescale, we’re excited to see our embedded technologies being used in applications like telehealth systems that deliver care to people in remote locations and monitoring systems that provide a continuous stream of accurate data for better care decisions.

As the technology for collecting, analyzing and transmitting data in the IoT continues to mature, we’ll see more and more exciting new IoT-driven healthcare applications and systems emerge. Read on to learn what’s happening now—and what’s on the horizon—for healthcare in the age of the IoT.

There’s no shortage of predictions about how the Internet of Things (IoT) is going to revolutionize healthcare by dramatically lowering costs and improving quality. But what we’re seeing at Freescale is that it’s already doing that. Wireless sensor-based systems are at work today, gathering patient medical data that was never before available for analysis and delivering care to people for whom care wasn’t previously accessible. In these ways, IoT-driven systems are making it possible to radically reduce costs and improve health by increasing the availability and quality of care.

In this paper, we’ll explore in greater depth the role of the IoT in healthcare delivery, take a close look at the technological aspects that make it a reality and examine the opportunities and challenges the IoT poses for healthcare today. We’ll start with an introduction to the IoT— still a relatively new concept—but one with a growing number of practical applications across many industries.

These topics are of vital interest to Freescale, where we develop and manufacture embedded technologies for use throughout IoT-driven healthcare systems, including:

  • Sensors that collect patient data
  • Microcontrollers that process, analyze and wirelessly communicate the data
  • Microprocessors that enable rich graphical user interfaces
  • Healthcare-specific gateways through which sensor data is further analyzed and sent to the cloud


David Niewolny
Healthcare Segment Manager, Freescale Semiconductor

Full Article


Further Links

Internet-of-Things (IoT) Advances Home Healthcare for Seniors

The Appliance Pervasive of Internet of Things in Healthcare Systems 

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things could play a massive role in the future of healthcare: here’s how

Internet of Things infographic offers some clues on trends in healthcare

The Internet of Things and Healthcare

How the Internet of Things is helping healthcare

4 Infographics about Internet of Things 4 Infografías sobre Internet de las Cosas


Project Ressources

Each of the groups will be provided with at least:

  • 1 Desktop computer (with all software required)
  • 2 RaspberryPi and accessories
  • 5 Arduino board, breadboard, different sensors and electronic parts and shields
  • 5 Arduino Ethernet Shields

Further resources:

  • 1 Microsoft Kinect
  • Video projectors
  • Cameras, recording equipment etc. for prepairing their presentations.
  • iPhone and iPad (iOS)
  • 1 Samsung Galaxy Tab (Android)
  • 2 LG Smart phones (Android)
  • 2 Wii Remotes
  • ….