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March 2, 2017

A holographic game from Cigna and Microsoft for health screenings

The digital tracking of your medical measurement data, despite the new gadgets, can hardly be called ‘fun’. Cigna in cooperation with Microsoft wants to change this. It markets a new device to gather your digital medical records in a playful manor; the BioBall.

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With this electronic ball and a VR headset, the users play a game while their vital data is collected. This BioBall is the first device to use Microsoft’s HoloLens technology to screen a person’s health. This ball is developed as part of Cigna’s program ‘Go, Know, Take Control’, where people are encouraged to keep an eye on four key elements of measurement according to Cigna, namely blood pressure, BMI, glucose and cholesterol. These four elements are, according to Cigna, responsible for most, preventable chronic diseases and health care costs.

Immediate results

Before playing you are first registered by an BioBall expert and your blood pressure is measured. Then you step into a hologram-filled chamber where the ball and the VR goggles are used. While you try to capture images in the hologram room the BioBall measures your pulse, BMI, movement and your speed. After the one-minute game, the user will immediately see his results on his goggles and receives an email in which ways to improve are given.

“With virtual and augmented reality revolutionizing the way we learn, work and play in our everyday lives – Cigna sees VR as a key way for consumers to manage personal health and wellness,” Cigna’s Chief Brand Officer Stephen Cassell said. “Cigna sees BioBall as an innovative way to encourage people to engage and take control of their health."

Portable pop-up version

The device will not be used at home or at the doctor, but will be part of public events sponsored by Cigna in the US. While the agenda of the places to find BioBall are not ready yet, Cassell already explained that the BioBall will be present during the Disney Marathon in September. As of April it will also be available as a portable, pop-up version, which can be used in onsite clinics or corporate events.

Cassell did not want to go into the specific details of how the BioBall can be used in employee settings, but left it hinted that the BioBall can be adapted to the needs of an employee because employers have a common goal to improve wellness and preventive care in the workplace.

“Preventive care is an important part of staying healthy, but we know that unfortunately, Americans only use preventive services at about half the recommended rate, even though it’s covered at 100 percent with most insurance,” Cassell said. “Through technology and other digital strategies, Cigna can make health care more fun and engaging to encourage individuals to get their checkups and potentially detect health issues early.”

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