Rutgers develops wristband wearable that uses biosensors to count blood cells, bacteria, and air particles

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/SmartWristbandFigure2.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Researchers at Rutgers University-New Brunswick (NJ) have developed a wristband with a biosensor that can count particles, including blood cells, bacteria and organic or inorganic particles in the air. The cuff-sized wristband has a circuit to process electrical signals, a micro-controller for digitizing data and a Bluetooth module to transmit data wirelessly to a smartphone app for further analysis. The blood count has to be done through pinpricks that funnel the cells through a channel thinner than a human hair to the biosensor.

From the articles, it appears the technology would be an add-on extending the capabilities of other sensor-based wearables. For instance, blood count monitoring could add another diagnostic parameter to traditional devices for chronic conditions and be used in diagnostic tools in remote or battlefield settings. Environmental analysis of air particles could be used for allergens or potentially toxic environments. Bacterial analysis could be used in potentially infectious settings or diagnosis. Rutgers Today,  Microsystems & Nanoengineering, Mobihealthnews

How do digital health partnerships happen? Where do you go with them? Views from a developer and an app security provider.

This Editor recently covered a partnership between Doncaster UK’s MediBioSense Ltd.and San Francisco-based Blue Cedar, where Blue Cedar’s app security system will protect information from MediBioSense’s app through to the provider database. I was curious how two physically distant small companies, even in this global healthcare business, found each other, as well as how MediBioSense (MBS) adopted a US-developed sensor from VitalConnect. To find out more, I spoke with the company CEOs, Simon Beniston of MBS and John Aisien of Blue Cedar. Their respective experiences led me to three takeaways which are applicable to early-stage companies–wherever they are located.

Past business dealings of the principals and keeping connections ‘warm’ matter a great deal–when the time is right to partner. Both companies had a combination of people and past experience in common. “I had some interaction with Simon during my time at Mocana, the company from which Blue Cedar spun out.” Mr. Aisien noted. “Our sales leadership in the UK continued to be in touch with Simon, and as we continued to execute on our business plan and focused on healthcare, the relationship strengthened. Simon’s role as a healthcare global app developer made him even more attractive as a partner.” For Mr. Beniston considering Blue Cedar as a security partner, it was a combination of contacts and people he knew already, “driven by the realization that while our data was fairly secure by design, I was cognizant of the fact that data protection requirements were growing in the European market with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). As a forward-thinking company, we wanted to get to this early on. Given this, the partnership between MediBioSense and Blue Cedar was a perfect fit.”

MediBioSense’s relationship with VitalConnect is also unusual in that MediBioSense developed their platform that monitors data for the VitalPatch. Mr. Beniston founded the company because he believed that healthcare was where mobile technologies, his prior field, could make a real difference and be joined to the use of biosensors and wearables. His knowledge of the platform and app were thus from the ground up. “We then went on to ensure that their [Blue Cedar’s] technology fit with our technology and the testing was successful. We could then go to healthcare companies and tell them that we have data protection covered. It gives us a competitive edge.”

The right partnerships build use cases, look forward to where their businesses can go in meeting customer needs, and are a step ahead of their clients. Mr. Aisien: “What Simon is doing is a wonderful example of using digital channels to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce costs. We think it’s a great proof point of the value of our app-centric approach as it relates to security in healthcare. MediBioSense’s app will be running on devices which are outside of the control of the entity using VitalPatch to capture [the patient’s] data. It’s not practical or economic for that entity to manage the device.”

When asked about whether healthcare users and developers are finally seeing the light about app security, Mr. Aisien acknowledged that it is developing. “The knowledge of the criticality of protecting oneself against security threats is unquestionably there and has been for awhile. With the increased use of digital channels–mobile, IoT, wearables–to improve business and reduce risks, the growth, the understanding, and most importantly, the funding are there. App-centric security continues to evolve because while other approaches like securing the whole device or containerization are technically sound, they are not necessarily economic or practical for all use cases. What makes universal sense is to download the app that already has the requisite levels of security in it.”

This is what attracted Mr. Beniston to use an app-based security approach for MediBioSense. “Historically it’s always been a device approach such as MDM [mobile device management]. One of our key USPs, when we approach our clients, is that one of the big expenses, aside from the VitalPatch, is hardware. One of our strengths is that our platform and interface can work on a consumer mobile device. We can utilize what your clinicians and patients already have in their pockets. They can use what they have, and to date, we haven’t seen any interference with mobile devices.”

He added, “We were surprised that even today, some are saying about GDPR that ‘we’ll wait until it happens’. That’s hiding your heads in the sand! (more…)

ATA’s hottest trend: advancing to Healthcare 2.0 via personalized healthcare

Guest columnist Dr Vikrum (Sunny) Malhotra attended ATA 2015 earlier this month. This is the third of three articles on his observations on trends and companies to watch.

For those who attended the American Telemedicine Association‘s meeting in Los Angeles, the overarching trend was how a personal healthcare system is taking shape. The three pillars include: care anywhere, care networking and care customization.

The ATA stage opened with a keynote speech by Dr Sanjay Gupta about celebrating new innovation and technology advancements. This is the year where healthcare models are being built around patients in the home to support patient autonomy.These three pillars of personalized healthcare are being made possible by disruptive technologies, wearables/implantables, social networks and analytic technologies to automate remote care. Wearables and biosensors allow patients to move anywhere without interfering with day to day schedules while allowing for optimized data collection.

Access to care anywhere has been a challenge and is becoming realized through providing cheaper wireless tools that takes it to far corners. Dr Gupta focused on the use of telemedicine for delivery of care and its utility for improving access. He endorsed it as a tool for providing care for those with limited healthcare accessibility and locally for more a mainstream solution to a larger healthcare problem. We have seen telemedicine become mainstream (more…)

‘Sticky sensor’ research at USAF Research Lab

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Biosensors.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Sticky biosensor patches are seemingly all the rage in wearables, but in very preliminary stages. The US Department of Defense (DOD) research labs are no exception. Here’s one from the USAF Research Lab that is intriguing because of its less-than-chunky profile (pictured) compared to the University of Illinois research prototypes [TTA 10 April]. The concept is basically to measure biometrics through vital sign measurement and body chemicals through perspiration (a/k/a sweat) that would be sent to a (hold the fanfare) smartphone. It’s advanced enough to be beta tested on runners in the September Air Force Marathon. The key researcher, Josh Hagen PhD., also notes it’s being developed not only for military use, but also for commercialization.  Armed With Science

Polymers to prevent infections, binding molecules for detection

A multiple-university team along with the US Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center (NSRDEC) was granted a patent for antimicrobial polymers which could be used in wearables and in other products such as medical implants, filtration systems and paints. Surface-grafted antimicrobial polymers trap and kill bacteria either by itself or activated by light. Incorporating Antimicrobial Polymers to Protect Warfighters (Armed With Science)

Get your favorite PhD or biotech researcher to interpret this article, which describes an approach developed at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and Joint Science and Technology Office (JSTO).  Biosensors for detection of chemical and biological threats and enable better post-exposure treatments use binding molecules on demand (BMOD–remember, this is the Army). Binding Molecules on Demand  and Could a Computer-designed Protein Protect Soldiers? Developers: think about combining the two to support better health in hospitals, transplant patients, older adults and those with compromised immune systems–or children in those petri dishes called ‘school’.