Rounding up September’s start: AliveCor’s hyperkalemia detector, Apple’s ECG Watch, Tunstall Nordic’s EWII, steps towards a bionic eye, Philips licenses BATDOK, VistA’s international future

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Lasso.jpg” thumb_width=”120″ /]AliveCor gets a fast track for its bloodless hyperkalemia (high blood potassium) detector through the FDA Breakthrough Device program. Working with doctors at the Mayo Clinic, they developed a way to read patterns in electrocardiograms (ECG/EKG) that track increasing potassium levels without drawing blood. While attributed in the CNBC article to AI, it seems closer to machine learning. Hyperkalemia is a condition that is seen in type 1 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and other kidney related conditions. The device and software is at least one year away from approval including a clinical trial, even on this program which further speeds up the Expedited Access Pathways (EAP) program under the 21st Century Cures legislation. AliveCor currently markets the Kardia Band that reads ECGs.

Meanwhile, the Series 4 iteration of the Apple Watch moves further into the medical device area–and AliveCor’s ECG niche–with a built-in atrial fibrillation-detecting algorithm and an ECG, along with fall detection via the new accelerometer and gyroscope. The Apple Watch will start shipping September 21. Mobihealthnews.

Danish energy and broadband provider EWII has sold its subsidiary EWII Telecare A/S to Tunstall Nordic. EWII Telecare provides telemedicine and telehealth services on a tablet platform dubbed Netcare (video here). The EWII Telecare website is already down. Telecompaper, Tunstall Nordic release

Foundational technology for a bionic eye? The University of Minnesota has developed a method using 3D printing to create light receptors on a hemispherical surface. Printing a base of silver ink, the next layer was photodiodes of a semiconducting polymer which convert light into electricity. ZDNet

Philips Healthcare is licensing the Battlefield Airmen Trauma Distributed Observation Kit (BATDOK) technology for remote monitoring of vital signs by combat paramedics. Terms were not disclosed. BATDOK was developed by the US Air Force Research Laboratory, which sought commercialization. [TTA 6 Sept 17]  Mobihealthnews

What is generally not known about the VA’s eventually departing EHR is that it has for some years an open source version called OSEHRA VistA. Plan VI will expand VistA capability by making it compatible with different languages using Unicode and creating a reference implementation for global use. Working with non-profit OSEHRA are research groups in South Korea, China, and the Kingdom of Jordan. Release

Twist up the power: carbon nanotube yarn as future power generator

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/USAF-twistron.jpg” thumb_width=”75″ /]Twist and Shout! The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Texas at Dallas and Hanyan University in South Korea, have developed carbon nanotube-based “twistron” yarns that when coiled and paired with ionic material, become supercapacitors. These twisted bundles of individual nanotubes, each of which is 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, when pulled and stretched generate electrical power. Ionic material can be an electrolyte, ocean water or even human sweat.

This development opens up opportunities in healthcare technology areas such as polymer-graphene thin skin adhering sensors for continuous monitoring that stretch or look like temporary tattoos [TTA 3 Feb] which need more power longer than available now.

The energy-generating capacities of the yarn were tested in a variety of interesting ways.  Researchers attached it to an artificial muscle that contracted and expanded, converting the change in temperature into electrical energy. When they were sewn into a shirt, they were used to monitor and sense changes in respiration. They were even immersed in South Korea’s Gyeonpo Sea to demonstrate how they can harvest the energy of ocean waves. The team is still working to better understand how the twistron yarns work by examining their carbon nanotube structure at the nanoscale, the three-dimensional structure of the yarns and how their structure changes when they are deformed. (The photo above left, captured by x-ray tomography, is a 3-D rendering of the coiled nanotube fibers and provides information on the structures, defects and interfaces internal to the fibers at the nanoscale.)

BATDOK monitor jumps into action on the battlefield medic arm (USAF)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/BATDOK-on-Wrist-586×350.jpg” thumb_width=”200″ /]US Air Force researchers have developed software with the long handle Battlefield Assisted Trauma Distributed Observation Kit (BATDOK). It runs on a smartphone or other mobile devices, which (suitably ruggedized) can jump into action with medical pararescue and combat rescue Airmen. Equipped with medical sensors, “BATDOK is a multi-patient, point of injury, casualty tool that assists our human operators and improves care. It can be a real-time health status monitoring for multiple patients, a documentation tool, a user-definable medical library, a portal to integrate patient data into their electronic health records, and finally it is interoperable with battlefield digital situation awareness maps, which helps identify the exact location of casualties.” said the head manager, Dr. Gregory Burnett, of the Airman Systems Directorate in the Warfighter Interface Division of the 711th Human Performance Wing. Aside from the technology, the intriguing point of the story is how the development team literally jumped with USAF teams into hot landing zones, returned back to the lab, yet everything was validated through the design, integration and testing process by the Airmen in the field–a tip that our health tech software and hardware developers would be well advised to follow. This Editor hopes that this technology will quickly be commercialized for use by civilian paramedics. Armed With Science (DoD Science Blog)  (USAF photo)

USAF researching brain stimulation for performance enhancement

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/TCDS.jpg” thumb_width=”100″ /]At the Air Force Research Lab, Applied Neuroscience Branch at Wright-Patterson AFB, researchers are testing transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) as a performance enhancer. We noted last August that DARPA was one of the lead research organizations on tDCS for mental illness and neurological problems [TTA 18 Aug 14]. AFRL is evaluating its effects on boosting cognition, memory and attention–all important factors when one is flying RPAs (remotely piloted aircraft, a/k/a drones) for multiple hours in front of a computer console. USAF RPA pilots (a/k/a Drone Drivers) now log three times as many flight hours as do pilots of real aircraft, which says volumes about priorities. Drone Drivers are also reporting combat fatigue and high levels of stress, so AFRL is also evaluating non-invasive ways of detection through pupil dilation and heart rate. Video (09:16)  USAF photo. Also Mosaic Science (Wellcome Trust)