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Meet the Previvors

Ethan Watters headshot
Ethan Watters / Jan 13, 2021
Using Disease-Prediction Data, Future Patients Push for Cures

In 2017’s Future of Medicine report, we wrote that sensor-powered biotechnology systems would soon identify what illnesses are in our future, sometimes years before symptoms appear.

We will all become “previvors,” knowing which of the thousands of human diseases are stalking us. Big data and AI will be the key.

The amount of personal health data is growing exponentially, encompassing your medical history and DNA data, along with real-time information gleaned from your phone, smart watches and wearable sensors. As more information gets sifted through machine learning algorithms, the more patterns AI will be able to interpret.

New household devices — including smart toilets that analyze your waste will soon be adding to that information. Combine that personal information with population-scale medical data, and health AI will become like a fortune-teller predicting when and how you will next fall ill. Armed with this information, previvor communities will coalesce into powerful lobbying groups able to compel corporations and governmental bodies to address their needs.

As Predicted - May 2017
April 2020 -

Smart Toilet Pilot Study Shows Promise
A team at Stanford Medicine has developed gadgets that can be fitted in an ordinary toilet to screen urine and feces and upload the encrypted health data. The technology may be particularly useful for monitoring individuals at high risk of developing particular illnesses

From the Study
The ‘smart’ toilet, which is self-contained and operates autonomously by leveraging pressure and motion sensors, analyses the user’s urine using a standard-of-care colorimetric assay that traces red–green–blue values from images of urinalysis strips, calculates the flow rate and volume of urine using computer vision as a uroflowmeter, and classifies stool according to the Bristol stool form scale using deep learning, with performance that is comparable to the performance of trained medical personnel. . . The toilet may find uses in the screening, diagnosis and longitudinal monitoring of specific patient populations.

Read the Study
As Predicted - May 2017
January 2021 - PCMag

From CES 2021:

A new toilet from Toto, powered by sensors and AI, analyzes your excreta and provides recommendations to improve your health.

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