by cmptv | 2:27 pm

Science fiction meets medicine: 5 amazing developments in healthcare

Medical researchers have produced some amazing technological advances in recent years. However, many of these seem to be overshadowed in the media, which always focuses on future innovations and the search for miracle cures. Here, I thought I would highlight what I think are some of the best innovations in modern medicine and healthcare which are making a difference to professionals and patients today.

  1. The Argus ‘Bionic Eye’ prosthetic.

The Argus Bionic eye

The Argus Bionic eye

Second Sight Medical products, based in the US, have been developing revolutionary prosthetics to help visually impaired people gain back some of their lost sight. At present, the improvements aren’t enormous, and clinical trial patients reported a range of side effects, but I think that this is an exciting step forward with great potential.

The Argus is implanted into the patient’s eye. It is attached to a camera worn on a pair of sunglasses; the camera transforms visual information into pulses of electricity, which then stimulates the cells in the patient’s eye. The cells and brain of the patient learn to interpret these electrical pulses, thereby offering them some degree of sight. Second Sight Medical products are working on trials to improve the product, increasing the granularity that patients can perceive and functionality to allow patients to zoom in on objects.

  1. TMAO Testing: More effective screening for heart attacks and strokes.

New and improved blood tests focusing on TMAO (trimethylamine-N-oxide), a common compound derived from natural occurring bacteria in a person’s gut, have been shown to be an incredibly powerful predictor of heart attacks and strokes.

Dr Stanley Hazen explains how the test works; “the higher someone’s level of TMAO is, the more susceptible that person is to accumulation of cholesterol in the artery wall. This increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke.”  Individuals with the highest levels of TMAO in their body were over 2.5 times more likely to suffer a major cardiac event (i.e. a heart attack or stroke).

Not only does this test give healthcare professionals an early warning of a patient’s risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke; but they also now have a greater understanding of the role of TMAO. With this information, clinicians can work with their patients to modify their diet to reduce their risk without medical intervention.

  1. Electronic stethoscopes are becoming a key diagnostic tool.

EKO electronic stethoscope

EKO Core electronic stethoscope

Electronic stethoscopes have revolutionized in the ways in which medical professionals share medical data with one another and diagnose patients. Innovative companies are introducing technologies and features more usually associated with high-end smartphones to this essential medical device. In fact, electronic stethoscopes aren’t a future technology; there’s already a few models of electronic stethoscopes very popular within cardiologist and internist.

These rapidly developing stethoscopes allow doctors to link their device to sound and visual projectors. This allows multiple medical experts to review the same patient data simultaneously. Clinicians do not even need to be in the same room as the patient and their colleagues; conferencing …

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by cmptv | 2:33 pm

My 3 top Kickstarter tech projects from 2016 to watch!

As an engineer with a keen interest in clever design and tech, I keep a close eye on up and coming Kickstarter projects. I think that this site is great, it lets you see ideas from new developers at a early stage, and helps bring together creators and backers in ways never before seen. I’ve picked three of what I think are the best tech projects from the site to show you here:

Brixo

This is amazing. Growing up, I think the single biggest influence on me wanting to be an engineer was playing with Lego blocks with my older brother. We used to build amazing things; pirate ships, space stations, sometimes whole city blocks!

Brixo aims to solve a problem that Lego fans never knew they had; these blocks safely conduct electricity!

The development team has designed blocks with built-in LED lights, motor blocks and even sound, light and proximity sensors. The blocks also have Bluetooth connectivity, so you can program simple commands on your phone or laptop for your structures to follow. The devs give a few examples of what they have in mind:

  • Set your phone’s alarm clock only to shut off when you build a pyramid.
  • Make a treat dispenser that gives your pup a treat every time he goes to his crate when there’s a knock at the door.
  • Help your kid build a nightlight that turns on when he says “heebeejeebee”.

I’ve already got plans for the machines that I’m going to build with these blocks. And they’re not just for big kids like me; I can see Brixo being something of a ‘gateway’ drug to get kids into technology sciences and engineering at an early age. This is definitely a project to keep an eye on!

Orison

The devs at Orison have created an ingenious range of energy saving devices. In a nutshell, they store energy during off-peak hours (when it’s cheaper, such as at night) to power your home during the day. Not only will these devices cut your bills, but they could also help manage energy supplies more efficiently in countries that get a significant amount of their power from less reliable, intermittent renewable energy sources. Energy can be stored in the home when the wind is blowing, or the sun is shining, and can be used to smooth the supply of energy at night or when the wind is still.

The Orison range can be remotely controlled via your mobile device and will keep your lights on in the event of a power outage. It’s also a good option for consumers with their home solar panels. In some countries, excess power is sold (often at a loss) back to the energy grid. The Orison will store this excess energy, allowing the homeowner to use it later.

The device isn’t cheap, and I’d want to see some detailed cost/benefits analysis before I invested in this project, but I like the design and believe that the concept has a great deal of …

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