McLaren F1 car

Formula 1 racing is a high stakes business. Top competitors have annual budgets of $400 million or more to put two drivers and their cars on the race tracks. As a result, it should come as no surprise that race car drivers are some of the most carefully monitored and analyzed individuals in the world. The timing of their gear shifting and braking is dissected into fractions of seconds, and teams search for tiny ergonomic and physiological advantages.

McLaren is one of the elite Formula 1 teams, but they also have a division — McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) — that looks for other ways to apply the company’s knowledge. These efforts were highlighted by an announcement of a partnership between MAT and the University of Oxford in England. The collaboration will seek to help hospitals in three ways: surgery training, patient monitors, and facilities logistics. The first two are of particular interest from a wearable Health Tech perspective.

The surgical training will track the motions of surgeons in training as they perform simulated procedures. The sequence of motions will be compared with those of experienced surgeons. The individual progress of each student can also be tracked so that their progress can be assessed. The goal is to make surgical training more efficient and effective. And McLaren’s deep experience with remote monitoring of a subject’s vital signs can help with detection of potential problems with patients before they become more serious and more difficult (and expensive) to treat. This monitoring can take place both within the hospital, making more efficient use of staff resources, as well as remote monitoring of patients after discharge.

This is an excellent example of industry and education partnership, where state of the art technology and techniques developed in the private sector can benefit education and healthcare for all.