Advancing healthcare through 6G technology

Women bring unique perspectives, experiences, and skills to the table, which are critical in developing technologies that are equitable, accessible, and meet the needs of a diverse global population.

As we celebrate Women's Day, it's essential to recognise the contributions of women like Mariella Särestöniemi, whose work in the 6G-enabled sustainable society (6GESS) research program at the University of Oulu exemplifies the profound impact that women can have on the technological landscape.

“I don’t consciously try to represent women’s perspective in my everyday work, but as I am a woman, that happens silently. Throughout my career, I have received great encouragement and support, which has helped me push the limits of what’s technologically possible. It’s crucial to get more women interested in technical fields so that research can better reflect diverse perspectives, including that of women, which is particularly important for healthcare,” Mariella Särestöniemi reflects.

 

The push for greater diversity in technology, particularly enticing more women into technical fields, is not just a matter of social justice but a strategic imperative for innovation. Research consistently shows that diverse teams are more creative, solve problems faster, and better identify and enter new markets.

Särestöniemi's pioneering research in wireless, energy-efficient diagnosis and monitoring solutions is a prime example of how women in tech are leading the charge towards more innovative and inclusive healthcare technologies. Her focus on developing non-invasive diagnostic tools, such as a self-monitoring vest for breast cancer detection, illustrates the potential of technology to make healthcare more accessible and less daunting for patients. This is particularly crucial for reaching those who might avoid traditional screening methods due to fear, pain, or logistical barriers. Särestöniemi’s work utilises radio channel analysis for detecting bodily abnormalities. It showcases the cutting-edge applications of 6G technology in medical diagnostics, offering a glimpse into a future where healthcare is more personalised, efficient, and widely available.

Through the 6G-enabled Sustainable Society (6GESS) programme, Särestöniemi’s research advances the technical capabilities of 6G. It also demonstrates how diversity in tech development can lead to solutions that are more democratic, efficient, and tailored to a broad spectrum of societal needs. 

On this Women's Day, Särestöniemi’s achievements remind us of the critical need to support and celebrate the inclusion of more women in technology to achieve gender equality and to ensure that the future of tech innovation is as diverse as the world it seeks to serve.

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