Labs-on-a-chip are useful tools for diagnosing diseases, but most can only pick out one or two sickness signatures amid an array of symptoms. The X Prize Foundation, responsible for innovation challenges in anything from spacecraft to oil spills, wants an all-purpose mobile device that can diagnose a patient better than a doctor. A tricorder!
By Caitlin KearneyPosted 04.28.2011 at 10:08 am 3 Comments
More than 325,000 Americans die every year from sudden cardiac arrest, but two simple CPR devices could reduce that number by 10,000. According to a study published in The Lancet this winter, the ResQPump, which is used for chest compressions, and the ResQPOD, which prevents too much air from entering the lungs during CPR, could increase certain cardiac-arrest victims’ chances of survival by 50 percent.
Those long periods of lying completely still inside that intimidating MRI tube may soon be a thing of the past. Employing some tricky math and some heavy-duty computing power, researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen have developed a new MRI method that renders images in just one-fiftieth of a second, fast enough to capture organs and joints "live" for the first time.
People get tattoos for all kinds of reason, such as conveying their appreciation for Japanese calligraphy or to let others at the gym know their biceps are rugged like barbed wire. But a team of MIT researchers have found a higher calling for tattoo tech: using a nanoparticle ink to monitor glucose levels in the bloodstream.
So-called keyhole surgery techniques have come a long way in recent decades, but a lack of dexterity and freedom of movement means sometimes surgeons can't get the job done, and that means they have to go in the old fashioned way: Straight through the breastbone.
Glaucoma is a tricky ailment to manage; rather than being a single disease, it's actually a cluster of diseases with various manifestations that, taken as a whole, are the second leading cause of blindness. But medical microtechnology firm Sensimed has engineered a sensor-laden contact lens that glaucoma sufferers can wear around-the-clock, helping doctors not only manage the potentially debilitating disease, but also learn more about how the mysterious condition works.
For decades, people with vocal cord problems could only hope to communicate in the cold, robotic voice provided by a mechanical larynx. The search for a more lifelike, and individualized, voice has gone on for some time, but scientists from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, have finally designed a device that approximates actual speech in people with damaged larynges. The artificial larynx recognizes what the user is saying by monitoring mouth movement, and then uses a speech synthesizer to produce the correct words.
Implantable electronics like pacemakers are old hat, but these kinds of implants are limited by the fact that they must be encased to protect them from the body, and vice versa. But in the quest to make our bodies ever more bionic, researchers have now developed implantable silicon-silk electronics that almost dissolve completely inside the body, leaving behind nanocircuitry that could be used for improved electrical interfaces for nervous system tissues or photonic tattoos that display blood-sugar readouts on the skin’s surface.
Like any good New Yorker, I love to walk, but as a group of Popular Science editors strolled back to the office today from a hands-on demo of Honda's latest prototype, we felt sadly ... pedestrian. We had gone to see a team of Japanese engineers from the company proudly showing off their new mobility technology -- a pair of wearable robotic "Walking Assist Devices." Strapping the powered gadgets to our legs felt silly, but after taking them off, the sensation of being cast back among unaugmented humans, forced to walk completely under our own primitive power, was a distinct comedown.
A new device encourages patients to take their prescribed pills, and tells on them if they don't
By Gregory MonePosted 04.23.2008 at 11:17 am 1 Comment
University of Florida scientists have developed a new gadget that basically annoys patients into taking their prescribed drugs, then tests their breath to ensure that they've actually swallowed the necessary pill. When it's time to take your medication, the machine beeps. Ignore it and it beeps again. In fact, it gets louder and louder until you actually respond—after a predetermined time, if you haven't swallowed your meds, it sends a message to the clinical trial coordinator. The device also performs a breath test that picks up the presence of a chemical tracer.