It was an extraordinary year for technological improvements in medicine & healthcare. Wearable devices measuring our vital signs at home; the 3D printing revolution producing prosthetics and biomaterials; exoskeletons getting FDA approval; brain-to-brain interfaces; artificial intelligence becoming widely available and many more as described in my book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine.
There are a lot of reasons to look forward to the year 2015, therefore let’s see the top trends and technologies that will shape the year 2015 in medicine and healthcare!
Organ-on-a-chip technique that can mimic the physiology of human organs might be available in the year 2015 which mean that we might soon be able to create the first virtual model of the human body making it possible to run drug tests on billions of patient models in seconds with supercomputers. Keep an eye on: Wyss Institute of Harvard
In the coming year, digital tattoos as thin as two micrometers might become available making it the ultimate sensor. So I don’t have to use all these gadgets around myself to measure my health data but with one very thin digital tattoo I could measure whatever I would like to measure. Keep an eye on: Takao Someya
Well, while the year of 2014 was the year of the wearable health trackers, 2015 will be the year of smart clothes. T-shirts and trousers which will be able to measure our health parameters in the most convenient way. Keep an eye on: Hexoskin.
The first medical tricorders will come to the market due to the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize and Nokia Sensing XChallenges. These will produce little devices that by scanning the body would come up with a few simple diagnostic options or measure any kind of vital signs at once. Keep an eye on: DMI.
IBM supercomputer named Watson as a cognitive computer will be used in more and more medical practices worldwide and more and more hospitals will buy that as an actual asset to the medical decision making process. Keep an eye on: IBM Watson.
Blood tests will be revolutionized by making them available with just one droplet of blood at first Walmarts around the US. Keep an eye on: Theranos.
Food scanning is coming at home and we will be able to finally know what ingredients our food contains by using spectroscopy. Keep an eye on: Tellspec.
Augmented reality will move away from Google Glass more towards the first digital contact lenses that can measure blood glucose levels from tears as an added benefit. Keep an eye on: bionic contact lenses.
The first 3D printed biomaterials will become mainstream as this year, the first liver tissues printed out in 3D will be used by pharmaceutical companies maybe making animal testing unnecessary. Keep an eye on: Organovo.
Empowered patients will attend more and more conferences, they will speak at these conferences and more and more e-patients will be included in editorial boards of peer reviewed journals.
Direct-to-consumer companies in genomics will deal with the challenges FDA will come up with and we will move towards very cheap whole genome sequencing. Although the cost will not be zero next year, but we will get closer to my prediction that the shipping cost of the sample will be higher than actually sequencing the genome. Keep an eye on: Gentle.
In areas with doctor shortages, telemedicine will be used at its best. Moreover, the first force-feedback gloves will come to the market making it possible to even feel the handshake form a distance, even from continents away while discussing medical issues through telemedical applications. Keep an eye on: InTouch Health.
Prosthetics will become more sophisticated and much much cheaper due to the 3D printing revolution. There will be people who will want to replace their healthy limbs for state-of-the-art prosthetic ones. Keep an eye on: Touch Bionics.
And I think that the first brain-computer interfaces will be used in practice, plus we will more and more be able to measure our brain activities; and to learn how to be relaxed or how to be focused at home. Keep an eye on: Muse and PIP.
Besides these, privacy and security issues will rule the year as well as an effort to get good mobile health applications and digital services reimbursed by insurers. We will see.
Here are some more lists.