Engadget just reported a fantastic technology which enables diabetes patients to measure blood sugar levels without finger pricks.
A crew of researchers from The University of Tokyo and BEANS Research Institute are in the process of developing a newfangled blood sugar sensor that “reacts to glucose and lights up inside the body.” ‘Course, injecting dyes into humans in order to receive interpretable signals ain’t exactly new, but hydrogel is what makes this approach unique. As the story goes, this jelly-esque material can be implanted within the body, enabling blood sugar levels to be monitored and measured externally with no pain or irritation whatsoever. In theory, a monitoring system could trigger an alert as soon as the internal levels dipped or rose beyond a predetermined extreme, giving those with diabetes a maximum amount of time to get things back in balance.
Have you every wondered what happens if you combine a 3D TV with virtual reality in medical imaging? Well, the device described in the video was developed by the University of California, San Diego and costs around $10,000. CoolestGadgets commented on this:
HUVR “couples a consumer 3D HDTV panel with a half-silvered mirror to project any graphic image onto the user’s hands and/or into the space surrounding them”. Apparently, the user’s head is tracked in order to get the correct perspective, and there is a haptic feedback device on hand for manipulation. I noticed that their haptic device looks a lot like a Novint Falcon, which I believe was designed for 3D gaming.
And as a second step, if you think it will lead to even more complicated interfaces, well, see what Hitachi developed, a gesture-based interface:
You may remember when I wrote about how cellphones could be used as microscopes in dermatology and I also mentioned the iMicroscope once. Now over at Spoonful of Medicine, a new cheap device is described:
Aydogan Ozcan is a professor of electrical engineering at UCLA. From $10 worth of parts, he built an apparatus that turns a cell phone into a mobile microscope. His device contains no lens, instead relying on a system of electronic magnification that creates a hologram, which is then transmitted wirelessly to a lab. The cellphone microscope could help doctors working in remote areas rapidly analyze patient blood samples, allowing them to screen for diseases like malaria, TB and anemia.
Here is Buzzy, a reusable pain relief device, developed by a pediatrician. It works based on the gate control theory of pain.
Buzzy is a newly developed reusable pain relief device that children can bring to the doctor’s office with them to help dull the pain of shots! As the brainchild of Pediatrician Amy Baxter, Buzzy rapidly reduces pain when pressed onto the skin. Buzzy is especially helpful for children who receive shots often, like those suffering from Diabetes. Buzzy can also be used for the small things, like taking splinters out!
Not only is Buzzy a kid-favorite, but it’s safe, effective immediately on contact, FDA compliant, and environmentally friendly too.
Here are a few examples how it works:
Federico Semeraro and his collegues just published a paper in Resuscitation focusing on the evaluation of a virtual reality enhanced mannequin designed for resuscitation training.
The objective of this study was to test acceptance of, and interest in, a newly developed prototype of virtual reality enhanced mannequin (VREM) on a sample of congress attendees who volunteered to participate in the evaluation session and to respond to a specifically designed questionnaire.
RESULTS: Overall, the evaluation of the system was very positive, as was the feeling of immersion and realism of the environment and simulation. Overall, 84.6% of the participants judged the virtual reality experience as interesting and believed that its development could be very useful for healthcare training.
CONCLUSIONS: The prototype of the virtual reality enhanced mannequin was well-liked, without interfence by interaction devices, and deserves full technological development and validation in emergency medical training.
Medgadget published a report about Virtobot that shows what the future of forensic medicine will look like.
The robot scans the contours and texture of the human body by projecting light bars on it and acquiring high definition images. These data are combined with the CT images acquired by the scanner in the same room. A three dimensional image of the body is then reconstructed that can be used during forensic examinations and be preserved as long as necessary.
You might remember when Swedish researchers developed an interactive touchscreen 3D autopsy table, the Virtual Autopsy Table:
When I first talked about Kickbee, it created a buzz about how this method could be utilized in health management. In a nutshell, Corey Menscher, the father of kickbee, probably the youngest Twitter user, has designed a kick sensor which monitors his pregnant wife’s belly, and generates a fetal tweet whenever the baby kicks.
Now Kickbee is ready to get to your home. A nice example about how a good idea can be converted into a product.
The Kickbee is a stretchable band worn by a pregnant mother. Vibration sensors are attached directly to the band, and are triggered by movement underneath. The band and electronics are covered in a soft fabric cover for design and comfort. A microcontroller in the garment captures the movement and transmits the signals wirelessly to a computer running a custom application.
I love innovation in healthcare.
For people with conductive hearing loss, Bone Anchored Hearing Aids that are implanted surgically use the skull to transmit sound to the inner ear. SoundBite bypasses this problem.
SoundBite hearing system is the world’s first and only non-surgical and removable hearing solution designed to imperceptibly transmit sound via the teeth to help people who are essentially deaf in one ear regain spatial hearing ability and rejoin the conversation of life. It employs a well-established principle called bone conduction to deliver clear, high quality sound to the inner ear. Nearly invisible when worn, the SoundBite system consists of an easy to insert and remove ITM (in-the-mouth) hearing device – which is custom made to fit around either the upper left or right back teeth – and a small microphone unit worn behind the ear. No modifications to the teeth are required.
Source of Photo: Sonitus Medical
Reference: Preliminary Evaluation of a Novel Bone-Conduction Device for Single-Sided Deafness
More pictures here…
I’m not really an Apple fan, but I’m always open to innovations in healthcare. Last week was centered around iPad both in the news and the blogosphere as more and more bloggers started to describe its potential role in healthcare. It’s obvious now that healthcare will go through some major changes in the next few years due to EMRs (electronic medical records) and PHRs (personal health records). Though Boston has already gone through this.
Tablet solutions have a clear future (pdf) but as Apple tablet representatives were spotted at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center a few weeks ago, it seems iPad might have a shot in healthcare as well. Let’s see what can happen.
Possible cons from the healthcare aspect:
- No camera: it means it cannot be used in telemedicine
- No flash: several medical websites use Flash
- No mouse support: it’s not a disadvantage if there won’t be click-heavy applications
- Battery life: It is somewhere around 10 hours which is enough for a doctor working on the hospital but what happens when the iPad gets handed off to the next person? Dying battery can be swapped out for a fresh one in other tablet solutions. Here there won’t be enough time to re-charge iPads.
- It’s too big to fit into a doctor’s pocket.
- iPad is not ruggedized while other healthcare tablets are drop resistant from about a meter.
- No Multi-tasking: it makes it impossible to write a patient report while consulting with a collegue (there are hundreds of examples why multi-tasking is crucial)
- No barcode scanner: it’s used for checking and uploading drugs, among others.
- Such a device should be water-proof and easily disinfected. iPad wasn’t designed for this.
- The iPad has a capacitive touch screen on which gloves won’t work.
- If there is a company that can get the best out of such a device, that is Apple.
- Probably there will be more and more medical applications designed exclusively for iPad just like there are so many medical apps for iPhone.
- It’s cheaper than other healthcare tablets.
- It was designed to be as user-friendly as possible (a nice advantage of Apple products) so elderly people will also be able to learn to use it easily.
- One scenario might be having an iPad in the hospital as the central database where doctors can upload the information from the iPhones.
If I miss anything, please let me know so I can improve the list.
I think iPad has the potential to become the No.1 healthcare tablet, but it has to go through plenty of changes and innovations in order to become a serious competitor in this race.
A few months ago, I wrote about a press release:
Using the Google Phone’s built-in bar code reader, Dr. Pellionisz demonstrated how personal genome computing can detect genome-friendly and genome-supportive products from foods to cosmetics to building materials and beyond.
You upload data from personal health record system such as Microsoft Healthvault or Google Health; genomic data from 23andMe or Navigenics to your smartphone and then by using the bar code reader, you can find products that are probably good for you based on your genomic and health profiles. Though the system has several limitations (e.g. how useful genomic data is right now regarding medical decisions), it sounds quite interesting.
Here is the process on video: