October 21, 2005

SO WHEN I GO TO AMAZON I keep seeing ads for the Philips Heartstart Home Defibrillator, to the point where I'm wondering if they're trying to tell me something. (It has to be me, as the Insta-Wife already has one built-in.) Now I'm also getting ads for this gadget.

Okay, actually I suspect that some sort of Amazon cookie-tracking, preference-establishing algorithm has figured out that we have someone in the household with heart issues. But it is a bit creepy, somehow.

There's an article in the latest Popular Mechanics -- not on their website yet -- saying that the home defibrillators really do save lives. As they get cheaper and more ubiquitous, it's likely to make a real difference. A lot more people die from sudden cardiac death, where a defibrillator will save them but nothing else much will, than is generally realized. Likewise, inexpensive blood pressure monitors mean that -- since you don't have to go to a doctor -- more people will track their blood pressure. Just another way technology is empowering ordinary people.

UPDATE: Maybe they're not as tricky as I thought. Ryan Kelley emails:

Hey Glenn. Amazon knows I'm 29, shop for athletic items on their site, and have never bought any medical supplies off Amazon and yet I get that ad almost everytime I visit. No way they're keying on me off their demographic shopper models.

Amazon looks like they're pushing it more then they pushed the Segway. Let's hope this marketing push is more successful.

That surprises me -- it doesn't strike me as a mass-market item. But maybe it'll at least save some lives.