PSFK Picks: Top Five Health Innovations Of The Week

PSFK Picks: Top Five Health Innovations Of The Week

Innovations include an app that predicts your life expectancy and nano-tech fabric that generates power.

  • 5 may 2013

Each week with its partner with Boehringer Ingelheim bring you a snapshot of Five Innovative Ideas each week that are reshaping the health care industry. This week innovations include an app that predicts your life expectancy and nano-tech fabric that generates power.


Daily Tracking System Monitors User’s Life Expectancy
IGNITE is a personal health tracking system that includes both a web application and a physical device that integrates with any smartphone. The app actively monitors the users weight and exercise using a mobile phone’s camera. By tracking these components along with lifestyle updates such as diet, behavior and goals, the software calculates the users’ life expectancy into a tangible ‘life number.’ The software leverages existing life insurance industry calculations for life expectancy and augments this information into a proactive improvement plan for the user. Over time, as the user adds additional personal information, the app begins to suggest specific recommended behaviors for a healthier life. Users can also share information with a larger community to boost personal accountability and get encouragement as they pursue their goals.

nanotechnology fabric

Nanotechnology Fabric Will Allow Users To Power Their Medical Devices With Clothing
A researcher at Wake Forest University has developed a new fabric utilizing carbon nanotubes, which is able to convert heat and movement into electricity.  People who live with certain medical conditions rely on medical devices that monitor symptoms, perform diagnoses, and even provide treatment, some of which are worn on the body.  The lightweight material can be wrapped around surfaces or even sewn into clothing, which could provide constant power for patients with medical devices. The material could also be used to passively monitor a user’s vital information, which can shed offer insight into symptoms a person might be experiencing or an injury they may have. Because the material collects power from the body, it eliminates the need for heavy batteries, reducing the footprint of wearable medical devices and making them easier to integrate into a patient’s daily life.


App Gamifies Treatment Of Diabetes, Making It Easier For Patients To Follow
mySugr is a mobile game that makes quantifying daily health more enjoyable for diabetics by treating it as a virtual monster that needs to be tamed. By using gamification techniques, patients can create detailed logs of their daily stats in order to provide a better view of what’s going on over time. Each user gets a monster that represents their diabetes, which talks back to users each time they enter data – whether it’s blood glucose numbers, time of injection, the meals they have eaten or activities they’ve done – and reacts positively or negatively based on their ongoing performance. By keeping the monster happy, users increase the amount of data they have on their condition and can use the app to create detailed graphs, informing them how their body behaves in certain situations.

lab grown kidney

Scientist Grow A Functioning Kidney In The Laboratory
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have successfully grown a kidney under laboratory conditions, and successfully transplanted it into a lab rat. Most importantly, this artificially-generated kidney was able to produce urine and showed renal function in the rat that received the transplant. One of the major problems in making a bioengineered organ is that it must have the correct architecture. In order to provide this, the first step in the new method was to take healthy kidneys from rats and remove all the cells while keeping the structure intact, thus providing a scaffold in which new cells can grow. These scaffolds were then seeded with cells and transferred to a whole organ bioreactor where they received proper nutrients. These rudimentary kidneys were then transplanted and were able to resume basic kidney function such as producing urine. This method, if scaled up and successful in humans has an added advantage in regards to organ rejection – since the scaffold can be coated with the recipient’s own cells, there will be no organ rejection due to incompatibility of immune systems.


App Checks Urine To Detect Presence Of Diseases
A new app called uChek is making it possible for anyone to check their urine for signs of a number of different diseases. Created by Mumbai-based Biosense and presented at the TED 2013 conference in Los Angeles, the app aims to replace the large and expensive machines that are currently used to scan urine samples, which can cost up to USD 10,000 per device. The app comes bundled with chemical strips that change color when dipped into a urine sample. After a picture of the strip is taken with a smartphone, the app quickly analyzes the results based on the color of the strip, producing accurate and easy-to-understand results. The process is capable of detecting levels of glucose, proteins and nitrites – among other chemicals – that can indicate the presence of 25 different conditions. Mobile urine checking could facilitate medical help in regions where on-site testing can be vital and resources are limited,  as well as enable patients to accurately diagnose themselves.

PSFK has partnered with  Boehringer Ingelheim to bring you a steady stream of inspiring news and ideas in the health and wellness space. Once each week, we will be posting an article on If you would like to gain access to the full stream of content, please check out Boehringer Ingelheim’s  Facebook Page, where they are publishing a regular stream of inspiring and informative content.


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