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Posts from the ‘Invention’ Category

Your Cardiac Rhythm as a Password for Computer Access

The new technology developed by Nymi was just announced and will certainly raise important questions about security. This is a bracelet using ECG authentication serving as a password to access computers or open doors.

The benefit of the Nymi’s new and exciting ECG authentication is that it is highly secure without compromising convenience. The Nymi has a 3-Factor system ensures that you and only you have access to your Nymi, and control of your identity. To access the Nymi you must first have possession of the wristband. Second, you must possess your unique heart rhythm, and finally, you must have access to the secure application on a registered smartphone. Once you’ve authenticated, you will remain authenticated so long as the wristband is not removed.

While the idea is great, what about people with different forms of arrhythmia? What about ECG results available in medical records of almost everyone? I hope the team behind Nymi will give us the responses.

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3D Printers For Living Tissues: Closer and Closer

One of the trending topics of the last couple of years has clearly been 3D printing as it has a lot to offer not only in medicine and healthcare but in any industries as well. How useful printing medical devices in underdeveloped areas could be, or even printing simpler drugs. But imagine a world in which you can print living materials and tissues.

A PopSci article described how a bioprinter works, here is the simplified process:

  • Step 1: Engineers load one syringe with a bio-ink containing tens of thousands of parenchymal liver cells and a second syringe with a bio-ink containing non-parenchymal liver cells.
  • Step 2: Software on a PC wired to the bioprinter instructs a stepper motor attached to the robotic arm to begin printing a mold (arranged in a honeycomb pattern).
  • Step 3: A sensor tracks the tip of each syringe as it moves along and determines where the first syringe should be positioned.
  • Step 4: The robotic arm lowers the pump head with the first syringe, which fills the honeycomb with parenchymal cells.
  • Step 5: Engineers remove the well plate­ and place it in an incubator. There, the cells continue fusing to form the complex matrix of a liver tissue.

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A similar process in action when Chinese scientists are successfully 3D printing living human kidneys is demonstrated in the video:

To produce mass amounts of the living cells, samples of human kidney cells are cultured in large volumes and blended with hydrogel, a water- and nutrition-rich material that makes up the 3D printed kidneys’ base. Afterwards, the printed cells can survive for up to four monthsin a lab thanks to this gel’s rich nutrient source.

The New York Times also has a great video about this topic.

But there is a huge technological issue. Printing something new in 3D requires detailed knowledge and prepared models. Therefore people now print objects of which the models are already available online. A solution might be provided by Makerbot Digitizer which actually replicates objects and print them in 3D. Again, imagine the same thing with living tissues.

It’s much more futuristic than just printing 3D objects, but its time will come.

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Makerbot Digitizer costs $1400.

 

iRobot: The telepresence robot

In a few more years, in rural areas it’s going to feel like a doctor is there with the patient while the doc is miles away although the iRobot will be in its place.

 iRobot even retooled itself to build an emerging technologies group, announcing a partnership with InTouch Health to put its AVA telepresence technology to better use. Today the two companies are announcing the fruits of their labor — the Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant, or RP-VITA. The project aims to combine the best of iRobot’s AVA telepresence units with InTouch health’s own bots, creating an easy to use system that allows physicians to care for patients remotely without stumbling over complicated technology.

AED Trainer app: Promo codes are available!

I’ve written about the AED Trainer, an app by Ivor Kovic, MD that helps learn to use an automated external defibrillator. Now 5 promo codes are available for the app and the first 5 people leaving a comment on this blog post asking for the codes will receive those. Hurry up!

AED Trainer app offers a cost saving alternative for educating laypersons and healthcare providers in the effective use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). It mimics all the features and prompts of existing live AEDs, and allows configuration with scenario builder that provides students with valuable and realistic training.
It can be used by layman and healthcare professionals to get familiar about who an AED works and be ready to use one in case of an emergency. Furthermore, the app can be extremely useful in offering a realistic and immersive training experience on regular CPR & AED courses.

The Robot Report from CES 2012: Medical Implications

I got access to the Robot Report written by Frank Tobe from the recent Consumer Electronics Show 2012. He featured many innovative and futuristic consumer robots out of which a few, I think, had real medical or health-related implications. You can download the document here. An excerpt:

Consumer robotics represented a very small part of CES but had the same combination of glitz, glamour, marvelous stuff, misrepresentation, uninspiring products and hidden gems, just like the rest of CES. Robotics Trends hosted a Robotics Tech Zone but the action was well beyond their purview because many of the companies wanted to emphasize their consumer orientation instead of highlighting the robotic.

Some examples:

  • PerMMA, a personal mobility and manipulation appliance for power wheelchair users.
  • Myomo, rehabilitation robotics and interactive gaming systems for stroke victim rehab.
  • Mantaro telepresence robot, a mobile Skype platform using your own iPhone or iPad.

  • Paro, the therapeutic furry seal-like bot for hospitals and eldercare.

Digital cane helps track of vital signs

I’ve recently come across this digital cane designed by a Lithuanian designer Egle Ugintaite for the Fujitsu 2011 design award in which he won the grand prize. Great idea!

The cane, which is known as the Aid, has a built-in navigator that provides the user directions to a certain location. So if you get lost, this cane will point the way home.

Additional features include monitors for the user’s pulse, blood pressure, as well as body temperature. These important numbers are displayed on the LCD screen on the cane’s clasp. It even has a button for sending out an SOS in case of emergency.

Withings Blood Pressure Monitor for iOS

One of the most interesting things I saw at this year’s Doctors 2.0 and You event was Withins’ Blood pressure monitor.

This iPhone-connected blood pressure monitor made its first appearance at CES, but you’ll finally be able to order one of your own today. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, the $129 accessory costs three to four times as much as off-the-shelf blood pressure monitors, but integrates well if you’re looking to pair it with your Withings scale for a complete vitals management solution.

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