The more tech-savvy among us often like to keep abreast of those new technological advances which will improve our leisure time, and change the way we entertain ourselves.
But exciting innovations are being made in the world of healthcare too. Inventors are constantly looking for new ways to diagnose and treat illnesses, as well as improve the efficiency of existing treatments.
With Global Entrepreneur Week just around the corner, we got together with Dr Wayne Osborne, Head GP at Treated.com, to take a look forward into the next 10 years and explore what devices doctors may be recommending very soon:
1. Energy-Generating Shoe Insole
A potential solution for encouraging exercise and physical activity outdoors has been developed by fifteen-year-old tech whizz Angelo Casimiro from the Philippines. Angelo invented a smart shoe insole which can produce enough electricity whilst walking to power small USB devices such as mobile phones and iPod; making running out of juice mid-workout a problem of the past.
Dr Wayne: The health benefits of walking and jogging might be seen as dis-countable by many; but in truth, these simple cardiovascular exercises can have a significant positive impact on heart health, as well as the development of muscle tone and strength, lowering stress levels, and the prevention of osteoarthritis.
2. Pen-Sized Device That Detects Skin Cancer
The Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) have created a micro probe which relies on a combination of spectroscopy methods to reduce unnecessary biopsies in the hope of detecting melanoma and other types of skin cancer. The probe, which is the size of a regular pen, can reveal information invisible to the human eye.
Dr Wayne: Each year millions of preventable cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are treated, but a high percentage still go undetected and cause serious illness. Regardless of skin type, everyone is at risk. Detecting skin cancer in its early stages before it can spread saves lives.
3. Anti-bleeding Gel
By utilizing those natural proteins and sugars which play a crucial role in healthy cell formation, anti-bleeding gel formula works to instantly seal a wound and start the clotting process. The invention is the brainchild of Joe Landolina, who was studying at New York University at the time. His gel technology can also be used for burn treatment too.
Dr Wayne: ‘The dangers of an open wound don’t simply disappear once you’ve had it attended to. Following this, it remains at risk of infection until it is completely healed. Speeding up the healing process reduces this risk and the need for further medical treatment.’
4. Electrical Underwear
Look out for electrical underwear in a department store near you. This clothing item delivers a small electrical charge every ten minutes, which activates muscles and increases circulation in that area to relieve bed sores. Dr Vivian Mushahwar and her Alberta Innovates Health Solutions (AIHS) Project SMART team are behind the creation.
Dr Wayne: Muscle contraction helps pump blood and oxygen to the muscles in the body. However, muscular oxygen deprivation is not uncommon in those who smoke, live with paralysis, or have an illness which requires bed rest or wheelchair use. In such users, this device helps to reduce the risk of cellulitis, bone and joint infection, and even some types of cancer.
5. 3-D Printing of Organs
3-D printing has entered the realms of healthcare as medical teams from across the world – from Princeton to Cambridge to Tokyo – are working with artificial organs in a bid to learn more about the human body and carry out surgical procedures with fewer risks. The Bio texture Wet Model developed by Fasotec, a Tokyo based company, replicates the human liver in almost every way.
Dr Wayne: With new innovations we are growing ever closer to a finding a solution for replacing and repairing damaged or worn out organs, such as the kidneys, the liver and the heart.
6. Smart Contact Lenses
Google Glass may have been a short-sighted invention but the team have introduced another eye wear creation which can monitor blood sugar levels. Google has collaborated with Novartis to produce the Smart Contact Lens, which uses a tiny antenna, thinner than a human hair, and a sensor the size of a piece of glitter, to monitor glucose levels in tears.
Dr Wayne: Monitoring blood sugar levels is paramount for the prevention and management of type-2 diabetes, which is now one of the leading health concerns among-est adults in the first world. Left untreated, diabetes can be fatal.
7. Seamless MD
A revolutionary app called SeamlessMD has launched to enable medical professionals and students to solicit and provide second opinions via social media. The app is available for public use although only verified medical professionals can upload and comment on a user’s photos, therefore screening out advice that is not valid or without credentials. Created by Dr. Joshua Landy, the app is currently being used by surgery clinics and hospitals in Canada and the U.S.
Dr Wayne: In the age of social media, it’s no surprise that medical professionals are drawing on the benefits of crowd sourcing for answers. Mobile apps of this kind can put a quick end to concerns of any nature, from rashes and tumors to surgical wounds and snakebites.
8. Blood Testing Pads
A startup company may have stumbled upon the method for extracting blood without the use of a needle. HemoLink is a miniature ping pong ball-sized device which can take a blood sample via a painless vacuum. The device, currently in its development phase, is said to draw about 0.15 cubic centimeters of samples, which is sufficient for testing cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Dr Wayne: Given that needles are a scare factor for many patients, it’s essential that we look into other alternatives to take accurate measurements. In addition, taking a blood sample can pave the way for the detection of infection and cancer cells too.