NHS England has announced a series of “Innovation Test Beds” that will be used to “harness technology to address some of the most complex issues facing patients and the health service”.
“Front-line health and care workers in seven areas will pioneer and evaluate the use of novel combinations of interconnected devices such as wearable monitors, data analysis and ways of working which will help patients stay well and monitor their conditions themselves at home”, according to the NHS press release. (more…)
Finally a more reliable device for combat medics to screen for TBI in the field. The US Department of Defense, before its EHR bombshell (so to speak) yesterday, issued this short Armed With Science article on a sensor-smartphone for quick field diagnosis of TBI. The FDA-cleared BrainScope Ahead 200 marries an Android smartphone with a headset and disposable sensors to measure brain electrical activity, The app in the smartphone then analyses the brain data using algorithms to correlate them to elements relating to TBI. Currently, most combat-related TBI tests are subjective, based purely on symptoms such as headaches, nausea and light sensitivity. The only ‘objective’ test would be a CT scan in a medical facility well off the front lines, which means time wasted in a definitive diagnosis. This is being implemented by the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
When you’re ten years old, pinging rubber bands across the classroom is fun. Getting caught doing so by your teacher is not. However you have to admit it’s kind of a novel use for those flexible little bands. Now Irish researchers may have upped the game by finding another, even more novel application for them.
The team at AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland-funded materials science centre, and the School of Physics TCD, working with researchers from the University of Surrey, have discovered a method of creating wearable sensors from shop-bought rubber bands. If you were listening back in class, you’ll remember that rubber doesn’t normally conduct electricity. However, the researchers whose findings have just been published in ACS Nano, a leading international nanoscience publication, discovered that by adding graphene the rubber bands became electrically conductive. In tests, the bands were strongly affected by any electrical current flowing through them if the band was stretched, which means tiny movements such as breath and pulse could be sensed by the technology.
The potential of graphene to be used in wearable sensors was noted by our TTA Editor-In-Chief, Donna, in her Pointer to the Future item back in 2011, Nanosheets and graphene: powering sensors, computers. Because rubber is available widely and cheaply, this latest development could open up major possibilities in the manufacturing of wearable sensors worldwide. Which means we can all look forward to finding graphene infused biosensors in everything from our bras to our bionic underpants.
A bandage-like system that wirelessly transmits data from a patients vital signs is being developed by an interdisciplinary team at the National Taiwan University. The system called Bioscope allows various sensors to be stacked on top of the bandage, depending on which vital signs need to be monitored. Read more: New Scientist
Students from Imperial College of London have come up with a novel way to help athletes and people with disabilities, who might struggle to correctly assess the severity of an injury. Internal injuries often don’t give visible warning signs such as swelling or marks on the skin and if left untreated can be potentially life threatening. But where an impact occurs in the ‘Bruise suit’ a removable pressure reactive film registers it as a magenta stain. The colour changes to reflect the intensity of impact. Although currently a prototype, the team is exploring further applications for the technology and developing a product line. Read more: Wired
Editor’s Note: There doesn’t seem to be any sound on the YouTube video for this at the moment!
GE Global Research has developed a non-contact monitoring system for prisons that aims to alert staff of a suicide attempt in progress. It works by tracking inmate’s movements and vital signs – but without the need for a wearable monitoring device! To achieve this the research team modified standard radar equipment to pick up the delicate movements of the chest caused by breathing and heartbeat.
The system which is designed to be mounted inside a prison cell could be an effective way to monitor at-risk individuals, without resorting to more expensive or more intrusive surveillance solutions. The US Department of Justice funded study proved to be 86 per cent accurate at determining whether someone required assistance.
The final technical report of the three part study is available in full at the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS). GE is now exploring ways to commercialise the system in prisons and other settings. Read more: New Scientist; National Institute of Justice
Apple have filed a patent for a “Mobile emergency attack and failsafe detection” which uses the iPhone’s inbuilt sensors to detect a probable emergency situation, such as a physical attack against the user. When the device is in ‘attack detection mode’, certain events can cause it to request help automatically, by calling a defined emergency contact or the emergency services. The GPS co-ordinates can also be transmitted. Apple Insider
Some pretty exciting work is happening at Newcastle University’s Digital Interaction Group with researchers evaluating the potential of Google Glass to support people with Parkinson’s. Much of the work is relevant to other conditions that affect movement, including Stroke and Multiple Sclerosis.
The great thing about Google Glass for people with motor control problems such as tremors, is that it gets around the difficulties in trying to negotiate the touch screen of a phone, or when trying to press a panic button. This is because the technology can be voice-operated and links to the internet. So in an emergency you can just tell it to call someone and it will. (more…)
What if the sensor and batteries could simply dissolve harmlessly in the body when no longer needed?
Research from John Rogers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his team first led to biodegradable (in the body) electronics in 2012, and now dissolving batteries (above). (more…)
A pointer to the future is how the US Air Force is taking a new look at what we call telehealth and they call Human Performance Monitoring. Current sensors are large and complex in measuring heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygenation and skin temperature–critical data for pilots and other airmen. For instance, the USAF measures O2 in F-22 pilots to determine effects and compensate to keep both man and machine safe. Not only do they want to make sensors smaller–like skin patches–but also these are key to a new concept in aviation medicine called Human Performance Augmentation, which will measure human health status in real time. And both play into Human Systems Integration, which integrates man and machine. The implications here for civilian use are many: miniaturization of sensors into wearables, real time telehealth and machine assistance for human tasks. Performance-detecting Biosensors (Armed With Science)
- ‘Cards’ in the Healthbook allowing entry for vital signs such as blood pressure, blood glucose, breathing rate, weight, hydration and oxygen saturation (O2). (photo at left above a ‘recreation of screenshots’ by 9to5Mac)
- Sleep tracking. Apple in February hired Roy J.E.M. Raymann, one of the world’s experts in sleep tracking including wearables and sensors, out of Philips.
- Emergency Card with customer’s name, birthdate, medication information, weight, eye color, blood type, organ donor status, and location.
The rumors tie it to the introduction of iOS 8, the iWatch or both. But beyond the sensors on the phone and/or the iWatch–there’s no information on how telehealth apps, devices or sensors would wirelessly transmit the information. “While Healthbook is capable of tracking, sorting, and managing various types of health and fitness-related data, it is currently uncertain where this data will actually be sourced from.” But Editor Toni noted in February (link below) that Apple just patented headphones which are capable of monitoring temperature, heart rate and perspiration levels. This is Healthbook, Apple’s major first step into health & fitness tracking (9to5Mac). And Wired thinks Apple’s Upcoming Health App Is the Start of Something Huge (Wonder if South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety will impound it as an unapproved medical device!)
Previously in TTA: Apple-ologists discern ‘new’ interest in health tech and telehealth [20 July 13], Apple’s tarnished luster, Round 2 [29 July 13], Apple purchasing 3D gesture control developer PrimeSense [19 Nov 13], Apple patents health monitoring headphones with ‘head gesture’ control [19 Feb]
Related TTA posts: Sensor-based monitoring coming to an iPhone near you? / Wearable technology – so much choice, so much data to sell? / Turn up, tune in but don’t drop out with health monitoring earphones