Tech Trends: Smart Technology

Smart Technology refers to systems designed with the capacity of artificial intelligence, i.e. software or hardware that has the ability to observe, and make decisions, based on the environment around them via complex algorithms and information processing databases.

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iSmartweaR Offers Contact-Less Vital Sign Monitoring

Taiwan’s Industrial Research Institute has developed a line of clothing that can monitor the wearer’s vital signs without making direct contact with skin. The product, known as iSmartweaR utilizes a single antenna radar sensing design with low-power microwave technology. The clothing can detect vital signs such as heart rate, breathing rate, and activity levels, without the use of compression clothing or electrodes.

The team at TIRI hopes to make this product marketable to the general public, although it has potential for certain professions such as firefighters and police officers. To learn more about iSmartweaR, watch the video above.

(Source: Medical Design Technology)

 

 

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Google Teams up with Deep Mind for Early Disease Detection

fundus_photograph_of_normal_left_eyeGoogle is teaming up with Moorfield’s Eye Hospital in London, and the game-based artificial intelligence program, Deep Mind for a five-year program that aims to speed up eye-disease analysis scans. Current scanning methods are slow and methodical, and not always reliable when it comes to correctly identifying potential diseases.

The project will use Deep Mind to collect and create a bank of anonymous data on a variety of eye diseases from macular degeneration to diabetic retinopathy. The data banked will one day be part of a system that can rapidly identify and diagnose diseases. While this initial program specifically works with eye-related diseases, the end goal is to have Deep Mind used to identify diseases in a variety of disciplines.

(Source: http://www.popsci.com/google-is-using-deep-mind-to-spot-disease-early)

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Graphene Wristband Could Help Type 2 Diabetics Regulate their Blood Sugar

insulin wristScientists from Korea, Massachusetts, and Texas are working together to develop a flexible, graphene sensor that could help Type 2 diabetics regulate their blood sugar. The experimental design features a clear wrist cuff made of graphene and doped with gold. When worn properly, the wristband is able to detect changes in blood sugar levels, and administer a drug to stabilize blood sugar levels if needed.

Currently, there exist various “robotic pancreases” for patients with Type 1 diabetes, in which insulin is no longer produced by the body and patients have to administer the hormone through injections. These robotic pancreases are fully automated and can detect changes in insulin levels and administer insulin on demand. However, this system is not ideal for Type 2 diabetics whose bodies still produce insulin. The graphene wristband senses the wearer’s mechanical strain, body temperature, and the chemical composition of their sweat—to infer the level of blood glucose in the body. The wristband then calculates and uses microneedles to administer the appropriate dose of metformin, a drug which helps the liver properly respond to the existing insulin already in the bloodstream.

The wristband is still in the experimental phase. It does not yet produce enough insulin in the body and there can be a 15-20 minute lag in response. However, the technology does show promise.

(Source: ieeeSpectrum)

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Shift Labs’ DripAssist Could Aid in Disaster-Stricken and Developing Regions

In 2012, Shift Labs launched an Indiegogo campaign for a device known as the Drip Clip that would use an automated system to monitor IV drips. Since that time, the company was able to raise money and improve the original design, resulting in the DripAssist. The device is powered using only one AA battery and is able to use an intuitive interface to determine how much fluid has been administered over time. Medical personnel using the device set the volume (mL) per unit of time (hour/ minute) and the DripAssist shows how much fluid has been dispensed on an easy to read monitor. The DripAssist is also equipped with an alarm that lets users know if there has been a leak or if the IV drip has stopped for any reason. The device costs only $350 and its portable, battery-powered design makes it ideal for use in developing regions and disaster-stricken areas. To learn more about the device, please watch the video above.

(Source: medGadget)

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IBM Purchases Merge Healthcare, Adding Images to Watson

merge-watsonJust a week after announcing that it had partnered with CVS Health, IBM has purchased Merge Healthcare, a medical imaging software company. The purchase will allow Watson to include images in its data set, vastly expanding the system’s capabilities. In healthcare, medical images are usually considered as separate from a patient’s medical data. While a radiologist scans dozens of MRI’s, x-rays, and CAT scans, they are typically only looking for abnormalities in the scan, and the information in the image is rarely ever paired with patient records. These patient records include information such as family and health histories, drug regimens, and current treatments a patient may be undergoing.

The integration of Watson into this process will allow for doctors to pair body scans with patient records, and cross reference the two with other recently-published studies in order to detect abnormalities or conditions that could potentially be overlooked.

(Source: New York Times)

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CVS Health Teams Up With IBM’s Watson

Woman with laptop in pharmacy --- Image by © Aurora/Aurora Photos/Corbis

IBM and CVS Health have announced a new partnership that will pair the Watson super-computer’s cognitive capabilities with CVS’ 7,600 stores and 1,000 walk-in clinics. Beginning in early 2016, the system will be used to aid CVS Health’s nearly 70 million customers, focusing on patients who will benefit from long-term, proactive healthcare. The system will use Watson’s ability to process terabytes of information in moments to provide cost-effective, preventative, out-patient options for patients with conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. This includes finding new and alternative treatments for common conditions. The ultimate goal of the program is to have CVS Health pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare providers working together to provide holistic care to patients.

(Source: Mashable)

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Model that can Predict Drug-Induced Arrythmia

One of the dangers of prescription medication is the possibility that it can lead to an irregular heartbeat in users. When a drug is being developed, researchers will test the substance on lab rats and isolated tissue samples in order to get an idea of how a drug might affect the heart and other organs. However, these tests are not always an accurate representation of the threats a medication might pose to the organs of living humans, and human testing during clinical trials can often put a subject’s life at risk if calculations regarding safety are not precise.

Researchers from the University of Tokyo are working to develop a computerized 3D heart model that can minimize the risks associated with prescription drug development and use. The model heart, digitally created using a super computer, is composed of 22 million “cells” that “simulate the heart’s activity from the molecular level to the organ level–from the ion channels in cell membranes, for example, to the muscle contractions that pump blood.” The model was able to accurately predict the effects of 12 different existing medications on the heart, and researchers are hopeful that it can continue to do so with new and developing medications. Nevertheless, there are still some limitations, for instance, it took over three hours to simulate each heartbeat, and only 5 heartbeats could be simulated for tests. Additionally, the simulation required live tissue data in order to accurately recreate the heartbeat and effects of medication on the heart. However, researchers are hopeful that over time the system can be perfected and used to predict other heart conditions.

For more information on the University of Tokyo’s 3D heart simulation and to better understand how the model works, click on the video above.

(Source: Popular Science)

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MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital Develop Computer Model that Diagnoses Cancer

MITBrain“Cancer” is a catch-all phrase used to describe any of the hundreds of diseases that fall under the umbrella of this condition. Cancer itself can manifest itself in different parts of the body and in different ways, and, as a result, each distinct variation must be treated in a particular way. However, with so many subtleties in the different forms of cancer which exist today, it is easy to see how errors can occur in both diagnosis and treatment.

Researchers from the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have teamed up with doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital to develop a computer model which utilizes algorithms to narrow down possible diagnoses. In a test study, researchers looked at patients with three different types of lymphoma. The computer model pulled information from patients’ diagnostic tests, previous cases, patient history, and information from the World Health Organization’s diagnosis parameters. The model’s extensive testing and diagnostic processes were ten percent more accurate than current techniques. Researchers are now looking to expand the scale of the model to continue improving diagnosis and treatment of various forms of cancer.

(Source: http://www.popsci.com/computer-generated-cancer-diagnosis)

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Two Week Temporary Tattoo-like Sensor Opens the Door for Brain-Computer Interfacing

goldsensorFor 80 years, the traditional method for non-invasive collection and analysis of human brain activity has been the electroencephalogram (EEG). The system used electrodes that were stuck to the subject’s temples and head with conductive gel. However, the electrodes do not remain in place for more than two days at the most, making long-term analysis difficult. A materials scientist from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed a wearable, temporary tattoo-like sensor that can be worn and collect data for up to two weeks.

The sensor is made of soft, foldable electrodes 300 nanometers thick and 30 micrometers wide atop a soft, plastic film. Using van der Waals interactions–the force that helps geckoes stick to surfaces–the sensor is able to stick to the skin for up to 14 days. In a pilot study, researchers were able to mount the device onto subjects’ ears using only a pair of tweezers, and the participants had to use spray on bandages on the area twice a day. However, the sensors stayed in place for up to two weeks, during showering, sleeping, and other activities. The device begins to remove on its own at the two week mark due to the natural exfoliation of skin.

This particular technological advancement is significant because it widens the opportunities for brain-computer interfacing (BCI), a technology necessary in thought-controlled prosthetics. The goal of BCI’s is to create a seamless transition between thought and movement in robotic and thought-controlled prostheses. Wearable sensors such as these help to advance that transition.

(Source: ieee Spectrum)

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Smart Watch Connects Epilepsy Patients With Caregivers

SmartWatchSeizuresFor over 30% of patients living with epilepsy, medication alone is not enough to control the onset of seizures. Everyday tasks such as driving, going to school or work, or simply going out for a walk can become dangerous if an epileptic experiences a sudden seizure. Now, a start-up company known as Smart Monitor is helping to connect epilepsy patients with their caregivers through the use of its new wearable device, the SmartWatch.

Though not FDA-approved to diagnose seizures, the watch can detect abnormal movements and runs an algorithm to determine if the movements are in line with those of a seizure. The SmartWatch, which is compatible with Android phones through an app, and will be made available for iOS in March 2015, calculates the wearer’s GPS, and sends a text alert to a caregiver if a seizure is suspected. Additionally, the SmartWatch collects data and stores it for use by a patient’s physician. The device is still in clinical trials, but has so far had positive feedback, particularly with parents of patients with epilepsy (currently, roughly 60% of SmartWatch users are children under the age of 21).

(Source: ieeeSpectrum)

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Samsung Delves Deeper Into the Field of Healthcare With the EDSAP

samsung-strokeSamsung moves further into the field of healthcare with the development of the Early Detection Sensor and Algorithm Package (EDSAP). The EDSAP pairs a flexible, dry EEG device with a smartphone or tablet app that can deliver the reading and results of a test within a minute. Samsung claims that the app will be helpful in identifying patients who have suffered a stroke. The EDSAP headset delivers much higher quality EEG readings than current headsets because of the high-sensitivity dry electrodes and an algorithm which compares the current reading against a bank of EEG readings of patients who have suffered strokes in the past. In addition to paramedic and emergency room use of the device to detect strokes, Samsung predicts that patients themselves can use the device not only to determine if they have had a mild stroke, but also to monitor stress and analyze sleep patterns. The EDSAP is still in the prototype stage, but the company is hopeful about its potential uses.

(Source: medGadget)

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Pathway Genomics Pairing with IBM’s Watson to Deliver the Most Personalized Health App Yet

dnaA start-up known as Pathway Genomics is teaming up with IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, to develop the most personalized health app yet– the Pathway Panorama. The app, which will release sometime in mid-2015, aims to link together data from fitness trackers, a user’s medical history, and sequence the user’s genome. The app will then be able to deliver the user with personalized health advice, for instance, how much a person with your particular genome sequence should be exercising. What will truly set the Pathway Panorama apart from the other health apps (aside from the very detailed information it stores from its users), is its use of the Watson supercomputer. When a user asks a question of the app, Watson will not only be able to identify what the user is asking, but also be able to scan the internet for all relevant articles published in medical journals, delivering an informed answer in seconds.

The Pathway Panorama will cost users a “small monthly fee” after its release, and developers are currently dealing with the hurdle of the FDA limiting companies providing genome-sequence-based health diagnoses to only deliver this information to doctors. Still, the app promises to be revolutionary.

(Source: Popular Science)

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Hygeia H1 Clinical Kiosk Quickly Measures Patient Vitals

hygeiaAtlanta, Georgia-based company, Hygeia, has developed a tool which will help speed patients through initial vital tests when they first enter the hospital. Emergency room vital tests are notoriously long, and can delay the delivery of treatment to patients in need. Hygeia has developed what is known as the H1 Clinical Kiosk, a kiosk which can quickly measure a patient’s weight, blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and oxygen saturation. The H1 Clinical Kiosk still requires a nurse to verify that all tests are done correctly (which is done through a synchronized smartphone or tablet application), however it can greatly reduce waiting times in hospitals and get patients treated more efficiently.

(Source: medGadget)

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Cambridge Consultants’ Flow Health Hub Brings Lab Testing Home

FlowCambridge Consultants has released a concept for an at-home lab that may very likely be a reality in the near future. The device is known as the Flow Health Hub. The device would be compact, allowing for various, color-coded testing cartridges to be stored inside. The cartridges would be capable of testing a number of body fluids, including: blood, urine, and saliva; those testing blood would be equipped with a lancet and an integrated test strip. After the body fluid is inserted into the cartridge, users would then plug the cartridge into the Flow Health Hub, where the interactive display screen would provide quick, accurate, easy-to-read results. Users would also be able to use the Flow Health Hub to track their personal fitness and monitor existing conditions.

(Source: medGadget)

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CSIRO Develops HeatWave3D Thermal Scanner

Australian company CSIRO has developed a 3D scanner that makes use of thermal imaging to help spot signs of various diseases. Although thermal imaging has a great deal of potential uses in medicine such as detecting diseases that cause fevers and inflammation, the technology has not yet gained a great deal of popularity because it can be quite difficult to use. Traditional 2D thermal devices require images to be taken from the exact same angle each time a patient comes for a checkup. However, CSIRO’s device, the HeatWave is handheld and can be moved around the patient, all the while creating a 3D heat map on a screen that is synchronized to the device.

CSIRO hopes that this technology will potentially help to spot tumors that cause breast or skin cancer, detect fevers, and help in epidemic quarantine scenarios. To get a preview of how the HeatWave device works, click on the video above.

(Source: medGadget)

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New Device Could Detect if Drinks Have Been Drugged

PDIDFrom a young age, many women receive the conventional wisdom to never take a drink from a stranger at a bar to avoid being drugged. However, this cardinal rule becomes fudged in situations where an element of trust is implied, for instance, at parties or on a date. Now, IT tech David Wilson wants to give women the power to verify if their drinks are safe with the development of the pd.id; a device that can be slipped into a drink and will detect any foreign substances. The pd.id will flash green if the drink is safe or blink red if the user should think twice before drinking.

Wilson likens the device to the Shazaam app which allows users to garner information on a song simply by playing a few bars; the pd.id gathers information about a beverage after it is dipped into the drink. However, Wilson cautions, like the Shazaam app, the pd.id is subject to error. In the same way Shazaam cannot filter out just the song in a noisy environment, substances such as dish soap may be present in the glass, which could cause the pd.id to flash red. Still, the device could serve as a warning system and potentially prevent instances of rape and abuse when used.

The pd.id is still in its developmental stages and creator, Wilson, is raising funds via Indiegogo to manufacture the product on a large scale. $12,000 of the $100,000 goal has currently been collected.

(Source: Huffington Post)

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HARKEN Technology Being Tested for Drowsy Driving

e902b928-a7e4-4bea-96f5-5ba11637d7e2-1406152435937With driving accidents being the third most common cause of death and disability worldwide, car manufacturers are constantly looking to new technologies that will help prevent as many accidents as possible. Now, a European project known as, HARKEN is aiming to develop new technology which will help prevent drowsy driving. Drowsy driving is often overlooked as a danger to motorists, in particular when compared to drunk driving and driving while under the influence of drugs. However, drowsy driving or driving while exhausted– which is often the case for truckers and those on road trips– causes drivers to be less aware of the road and thus, puts them at risk for accidents. Drowsy driving accounts for 8.3% of all traffic accidents.

HARKEN technology makes use of sensors in the seat belt and seat cover of the driver’s chair and monitors signs of fatigue. The system monitors for changes in breathing patterns and heart rate which are consistent with fatigue; this allows for drowsy driving to be detected before other obvious signs of exhaustion such as yawning and poor driving. The system is currently being tested with drivers in closed tracks, and the European Union is hopeful for the prospect of having a system such as HARKEN installed in its cars.

(Source: ieeeSpectrum)

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Chrono Therapeutics’ SmartStop Nicotine Patch Promises to Stop Cravings Before they Begin

chrono-stopNicotine patches are one of the most commonly used smoking cessation products. However, they are less than ideal for those looking to quit smoking because these patches provide a steady stream of nicotine to the body, rather than addressing specific cravings. Now, a company by the name of Chrono Therapeutics has developed the SmartStop nicotine patch to help deliver more targeted craving control.

The device, which can be synced to smartphones and tablets using bluetooth, is wearable and comes with changeable nicotine cartridges. Using their smartphones or tablets, wearers can set up a schedule for doses to come before common craving times (after a meal or first thing in the morning, for instance). They are also able to use their devices to determine how much nicotine is being used, and to control not only dosage times, but amounts as well.

(Source: medGadget)

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Jerry the Bear Teaches Children How to Monitor Their Diabetes

Children with diabetes often have the task of maturing more quickly than their healthier contemporaries because they are forced to take control of their health from an early age. These children have to monitor the foods they eat, give themselves daily blood tests to measure blood glucose levels and, in some cases, they must also administer daily insulin injections. As a result, most childhood diabetics are more attentive to their personal healthcare than many adults.

Still, for many children with diabetes, the tasks necessary to take care of themselves can seem cumbersome. To help teach children about the importance of managing their diabetes, a company known as Sproutel has developed Jerry, a teddy bear with diabetes. Children can measure Jerry’s blood sugar (by pressing on his paws) as well as give him meals and snacks (in the form of cards that are swiped over Jerry’s mouth) and see how the foods he eats affect his blood glucose levels. For more information on Jerry the bear, watch the video above.

(Source: medGadget)

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