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23/01/2018

Tech Innovations Working Towards Enhancing Healthcare


Medicine is probably the discipline that has improved the most in the past century. We went from performing surgery without anaesthesia to being able to operate without opening the body.

Technology is playing a big part in the latest medical innovations and we wanted to reflect on a few of these, highlighting the progress made and fantasising about a future where all illnesses will be the equivalent of the common cold!

  • Origami-inspired bots:
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) developed origami-inspired bots that can fold into a variety of different shapes.
  
They could potentially carry out different types of surgery with a minimal impact on the patient. They could easily be swallowed and, once inside the body, could take samples, patch wounds or remove objects. 

  • Super-elastic surgical glue:
This revolutionary glue helps surgeons repair ruptured or pierced organs and tissues in vivo.

Baptised MeTro, this glue has been designed by biomedical engineers and allows to immediately seal a wound (which is something that can’t be achieved with current techniques like stapling, suturing and wiring). 

  • The Brain Composer:
Created using a technology called brain-computer interfaces, the ‘Brain Composer’ allows anyone to compose music just by thinking about it: the application can simply read brainwaves and translate them onto an external device.

The discovery was made by researchers from the Graz University of Technology in Austria.

It could change the life of people living with a disability, allowing them to control exoskeletons and prosthetics or to simply write a letter!

  • Cancer detecting pen:
The main difficulty when it comes to diagnosing cancer is to make the distinction between healthy tissue and the cancerous.

If you remove too little, there’s a higher risk of recurrence and if you remove too much, it can have adverse consequences for biological function.

The cancer detecting pen, developed by scientists from the University of Texas at Austin, showed a 96% accuracy rate in trials so far. The MasSpec Pen – that’s its name – should be tested in live surgeries starting next year and it feels like a step closer towards defeating cancer! 

  • Augmented reality glasses for surgeons:
Developed by an Israeli start-up, these augmented reality headsets are destined to be used by surgeons specialised in spinal surgery.

The device is called ‘Vizor’ and gives the surgeon a greatly enhanced perception: after a calibration process of both the tools and the patient’s spine, the system then acts as a heads up display with a 1.4mm accuracy.

The co-founder and CEO of the company, Nissan Elimelech, has said: “We showed it to 50 spine surgeons right now. They’re all overwhelmed by the technology and said they could actually feel like they had superhero capabilities.”


Which technology do you think is the most awe-inspiring? What do you think the future of medicine looks like? 
Tagged In: Healthcare
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