Internet of Healthcare Things

April 17, 2023

Network Engineer

This paper explores the role of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in the healthcare sector, focusing on emergency health sensors and 3D navigation. A literature review of current technologies is conducted, followed by an explanation of how these technologies could be applied to the vignette use case. The paper then rewrites the vignette using present-day technology and summarizes the work of a professor who's work is relevant to the topic, specifically Giovanni Traverso.


The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry, providing new ways to monitor patients, improve treatments, and save lives. This paper analyzes a vignette in which IoT technologies are employed to save a baby's life during a medical emergency. We then identify currently existing IoT technologies that could be applied to this scenario and conduct a literature review researching those technologies. Furthermore, we examine the research of Giovanni Traverso, a professor whose work has been discussed during the course.

Vignette | Emergency Health Sensors and 3D Navigation

Muddy has arrived home and is cleared for entry by the home defense system. As he walks into the kitchen, RFID tags allow for stock levels and use-by dates to be proactively monitored by the cloud kitchen IoT assistant. 

Just as Dr. Brown passes the last bag of oranges from Muddy to her robot assistant to put away, she receives an augmented reality notification that a baby cot in the neighborhood has detected an arrhythmia in its baby’s heart. Dr. Brown runs out of the front door looking over the baby’s vital signs as her peripheral vision keeps track of the sidewalk’s flashing emergency alert lights, guiding her to the address of the unfolding emergency. 

Several drones are dispatched from the hyper-local clinic and arrive with the appropriate equipment for infant resuscitation, alongside appropriately diluted adrenalin and fluid preparations for such an occasion. A local community self-driving car has repurposed itself to serve as an ambulance, tracks Dr. Brown, and picks her up to drive the last 1000 yards to the address at bullet train speed with all other vehicular traffic paused for a couple of seconds to allow them to pass safely with ease. 

The concerned parents are just starting to grasp the gravity of the situation, and as panic is about to set in, they are relieved as Dr. Brown and the equipment drones enter the room to save their baby’s life.

Literature Review

Several IoT technologies are present in the vignette, including RFID tags for stock monitoring, augmented reality (AR) notifications, drones for medical equipment delivery, and self-driving cars for emergency transportation. This section reviews the literature surrounding these technologies and their application in healthcare.

RFID tags

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags have been widely used in various industries for tracking inventory and monitoring stock levels (Bacheldor, 2007). RFID tags can manage medical supplies and equipment in healthcare, ensuring efficient and timely access to critical resources (Kumar & Livermont, 2010).

Augmented Reality (AR) notifications

AR technology overlays digital information onto the user's view of the physical world, providing real-time, context-aware information through digital visual elements, sounds, and other sensory stimuli via holographic technology (Microsoft Dynamics 365, n.d.). AR incorporates three features: a combination of digital and physical worlds, interactions made in real-time, and accurate 3D identification of virtual and real objects (Microsoft Dynamics 365, n.d.). AR has been employed in various healthcare applications, such as medical training, remote consultations, and patient monitoring (Ventola, 2014).

Drones for medical equipment delivery

Drones have gained popularity in recent years for their potential to revolutionize the delivery of goods and services. Drones can transport medical supplies and equipment in healthcare, particularly in emergencies (Pulver et al., 2018).

Self-driving cars for emergency transportation

Autonomous vehicles are expected to significantly impact the transportation industry, with potential applications in various sectors, including healthcare. Self-driving cars can be employed for emergency transportation, ensuring rapid and safe transit for medical professionals and patients (Fagnant & Kockelman, 2015).

Application of IoT Technologies in the Vignette Use Case

In the vignette, several IoT technologies address a medical emergency involving a baby suffering from arrhythmia. RFID tags allow for proactive monitoring of stock levels in the home, while AR notifications alert Dr. Brown of the emergency. Drones deliver the necessary medical equipment, and a self-driving car provides rapid transportation to the scene.

RFID tags in the vignette are used to monitor stock levels in the kitchen, ensuring that necessary medical supplies are always available. This can help healthcare professionals respond to emergencies more efficiently, as they have immediate access to critical resources.

AR notifications in the vignette provide Dr. Brown with real-time information about the baby's condition and guide her to the emergency location. This technology can help medical professionals make informed decisions and act quickly in critical situations.

Drones in the vignette deliver life-saving medical equipment to the emergency scene, ensuring Dr. Brown has everything she needs to treat the baby. This can help save precious time in emergencies and improve patient outcomes.

Self-driving cars in the vignette provide rapid transportation for Dr. Brown, pausing other vehicular traffic to ensure a swift and safe journey. This technology can significantly improve emergency response times, increasing the chances of successful treatment.

Research and Analysis of a Particular IoT Technology

For a deeper analysis, we focus on using drones for medical equipment delivery in the vignette's use case. Drones have shown great potential in delivering medical supplies to remote and hard-to-reach areas, as well as in emergencies where time is critical (Pulver et al., 2018). They can quickly transport essential equipment, medications, and even blood products to the scene, enabling healthcare professionals to provide timely and effective care (Haidari et al., 2016).

In the vignette, drones are dispatched from a hyper-local clinic, carrying the necessary equipment and medications for infant resuscitation. The drones' rapid response time ensures that Dr. Brown has everything she needs to save the baby's life, highlighting the potential benefits of using drones for emergency medical equipment delivery.

Vignette Use Case with Present-Day Technology

Muddy arrives back home, and the home defense system clears him for entry. As he walks into the kitchen, a smartphone app allows him to monitor stock levels and use-by dates for groceries. Dr. Brown receives a notification on her smartphone that a baby cot in the neighborhood has detected an arrhythmia in its baby's heart. She quickly gathers the necessary medical equipment and rushes out the door.

A medical drone is dispatched from a nearby clinic, carrying additional equipment and medications for infant resuscitation. Meanwhile, a self-driving car pulls up in front of Dr. Brown's house, and she jumps in. The car swiftly navigates to the baby's location, with traffic briefly paused to allow them to pass safely.

Upon arrival, Dr. Brown enters the room with the medical drone, providing the anxious parents with the necessary care and equipment to save their baby's life.

Summary of Giovanni Traverso's Research and Contributions

Giovanni Traverso is a leading researcher in the field of ingestible electronics, focusing on developing novel drug delivery systems and medical devices. Some of his notable research contributions include:

  • Ingestible electronics for diagnostics and therapy (Steiger et al., 2018): This paper explores the potential of ingestible electronic devices for various diagnostic and therapeutic applications, including drug delivery, sensing, and imaging.
  • A luminal unfolding microneedle injector for oral delivery of macromolecules (Abramson et al., 2019): This study presents a novel ingestible capsule capable of delivering large-molecule drugs, such as insulin, through the lining of the small intestine using microneedles.
  • Oral, ultra–long-lasting drug delivery: Application toward malaria elimination goals (Bellinger et al., 2016): This research introduces a new drug capsule designed to provide long-term drug release, with potential applications in the treatment of chronic diseases and the elimination of malaria.

Traverso's work has significantly advanced the ingestible electronics and drug delivery field, demonstrating the potential for innovative technologies to improve patient care and treatment outcomes.


In this paper, we explored the role of IoT technologies in emergency health sensors and 3D navigation, focusing on a vignette in which these technologies were employed to save a baby's life. We identified currently existing IoT technologies that could be applied to this scenario and conducted a literature review of these technologies. Furthermore, we examined the research and contributions of Giovanni Traverso, whose work in ingestible electronics has significantly advanced the field. Integrating IoT technologies in healthcare can revolutionize patient care and save lives, offering faster response times, more efficient resource management, and improved treatment outcomes.

As the IoT continues to evolve and mature, we can expect further advancements in healthcare applications, with the potential for even more significant improvements in patient care and overall quality of life. By embracing these technologies and investing in their development, we can work towards a future where medical emergencies are managed more effectively, ensuring the best possible outcomes for patients and their families.


Microsoft Dynamics 365. (n.d.). What is augmented reality or AR? Retrieved from

Bacheldor, B. (2007). RFID: The next big thing in medical inventory management. Health Facilities Management, 20(1), 36-39.

Fagnant, D. J., & Kockelman, K. (2015). Preparing a nation for autonomous vehicles: Opportunities, barriers and policy recommendations. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 77, 167-181.

Haidari, L. A., Brown, S. T., Ferguson, M., Bancroft, E., Spiker, M., Wilcox, A., ... & Connor, D. L. (2016). The economic and operational value of using drones to transport vaccines. Vaccine, 34(34), 4062-4067.

Kumar, S., & Livermont, G. (2010). RFID in healthcare: A six sigma DMAIC and simulation case study. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 23(4), 365-383.

Pulver, A., Wei, R., & Mann, C. (2018). Locating AED enabled medical drones to enhance cardiac arrest response times. Prehospital Emergency Care, 22(2), 212-220.

Steiger, C., Abramson, A., Nadeau, P., Chandrakasan, A. P., Langer, R., & Traverso, G. (2018). Ingestible electronics for diagnostics and therapy. Nature Reviews Materials, 3(12), 1-17.

Ventola, C. L. (2014). Mobile devices and apps for health care professionals: Uses and benefits. Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 39(5), 356-364.

Abramson, A., Caffarel-Salvador, E., Soares, V., Minahan, D., Tian, R. Y., Lu, X., ... & Traverso, G. (2019). A luminal unfolding microneedle injector for oral delivery of macromolecules. Nature Medicine, 25(10), 1512-1518.

Bellinger, A. M., Jafari, M., Grant, T. M., Zhang, S., Slater, H. C., Wenger, E. A., ... & Traverso, G. (2016). Oral, ultra–long-lasting drug delivery: Application toward malaria elimination goals. Science Translational Medicine, 8(365), 365ra157.

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