Innovative healthcare equipment solutions
From pocket-sized ultrasound machines that are far cheaper to run, virtual reality that can speed up healing when in rehab, to the artificial intelligence that is better than medical experts at spotting cancer tumours, innovation is amazing. These are a few of the innovations that are transforming the health and medicine industry at a remarkable pace.
No one can predict the future, but we can take a glimpse into the innovations that are coming out. Technology, like the people who stand behind them, stands at the forefront of the health care industry.
This technology is used in falls prevention training and is used in aged care homes and hospitals. It is particularly useful for patients who have dementia as it helps carers know when they get up. Bed sensors are a simple yet ingenious solution for preventing injury in the elderly.
A stem-cell cure for diabetes
Type 1 diabetes affects over 1.25 million Americans. That number got the attention of the biologist Doug Melton, his daughter Emma and his son Sam. Treatment involves a lifetime of special dietary requirements, insulin needles and daily blood glucose testing. The approach Melton found to take was using stem cells in order to create a replacement beta cell that will produce insulin. The work was started ten years ago when stem cell research was gaining hope as well as controversy. He co-founded Semma Therapeutics in 2014. The name came from his children to develop the technology which was acquired by the company Vertex Pharmaceuticals for $950 million. The company has created an implantable device that holds millions of replacement beta cells, so glucose and insulin are let through, but the immune cells are kept out. It has worked well in animals. If the same results are witnessed in humans, people may no longer have diabetes.
Wristbands that read your mind
A person who is wearing a chunky black wristband ends up staring at a tiny digital animal leaping over different obstacles on their computer screen. The person’s hands don’t move, but they are somehow controlling the animal with their brain. The device worn on the wrist is the control system which can detect the electrical impulses that are travelling from the motor neurons down through the arm to the hand as soon as a person thinks about that particular movement. We need machines to do what we want them to do and not be enslaved by machines is what Thomas Reardon has long said. Reardon is the CEO, along with the co-founder of the control site that the device maker called CTRL- Labs. This type of technology could open up a new form of rehabilitation and access for patients that are recovering from amputation or stroke, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
Ultrasound machine that is no bigger than your pocket
There are around four billion people globally who don’t have access to medical imaging that could benefit from a pocket-sized ultrasound device called the Butterfly iQ. A Yale genetics researcher Johnathan Rothberg figured out how we can put the ultrasound technology into a chip. In doing so, it means that we no longer need the $100,000 medical imaging machine. We now only need the $2,000 gadget that can connect to your smartphone. The device went on sale to medical professionals last year. The goal is to sell to around 150 countries that can afford it. The foundation will then distribute the device to 53 countries that cannot afford it. The technology is not as good as the standard large machines and they won’t replace them. For small non-life threatening medical problems, they could be an essential part of the medical imaging department.