AMITIAE - Wednesday 4 March 2015

Health Monitoring, iPhone and Apple Watch: Federico Viticci's Inspiring Story

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


When Steve Jobs was diagnosed with the cancer that would eventually lead to his death, he was naturally concerned with his health. Not in the obvious way that anyone would be, but more in terms of discovering ways to find out more.

Some of the research that followed began the process of an Apple device that would allow users to monitor their own health and progress. On the way, there was the tie-in with Nike and its app that took data from a Bluetooth device in running shoes and sent input to a iOS device.

I tested the Nike+ system in 2007, just in time for the start of a back problem, so instead of increasing a daily target, I was tracking the decreasing limits of my walking range.

That early demonstration of how different technologies could be linked to guide personal goals - even if my own physical state did not allow me to benefit as I would have wanted - was a good indication of how iOS devices could be used.

Health monitoring It was also clear with the Nike+ that external input means would need to be developed to be more sophisticated if such systems were to be expanded. A number have been developed, such as the Jawbone and others.

Within the next few days the Apple Watch is expected to be released, although when it actually goes on sale is not known (nor its availability in countries round the world). That device was developed with a number of monitoring systems planned, including a heart-rate monitor.

To manage the data and allow those interested to record a number of data points as input the Health app was included with the release of iOS 8. I have tried a number of the input options, but so far only Distance and Steps record automatically. I have not yet developed the personal urgency to take the time to record other inputs like carbohydrates, calories or fiber.

Earlier today, Federico Viticci of MacStories - a site I have followed for a number of years - who had been diagnosed with cancer at the age of 23, put out an article that is somewhat inspiring: not in the sense of wonderment, but in the practical way in which he has taken the Health app and made its use part of his daily routine as part of his recovery.

Included in his "Life After Cancer: How the iPhone Helped Me Achieve a Healthier Lifestyle" is the observation that he used the Health app with the awareness that its integration with the Apple Watch would be an important factor for the future.

Tweet from Phil Schiller

This has been well-circulated and even elicited a Tweet from Phil Schiller (itself generating much traffic): this is a better demonstration of the potential of the Health app and a major use of the Apple Watch than perhaps Apple could have envisaged. It is a truthful and poignant story because of its firm base in the reality of the situation that Viticci found himself in.

Read that story. It is not a cloying tale of sickness, recovery and the future, but demonstrates a reality that anyone of us might be unlucky enough to experience; yet Federico remains positive with the outcome; and the use of the personal monitoring software gives him targets for the future.

See Also:

Life After Cancer: How the iPhone Helped Me Achieve a Healthier Lifestyle (Federico Viticci, Mac Stories)

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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