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PSFK Picks: Top Five Health Innovations Of The Week

An app that helps teens get to sleep and a prosthetic hand controlled via smartphone. The most innovative stories from the world of wellness.

PSFK Labs
PSFK Labs on May 19, 2013. @psfk

Each week PSFK.com 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 helps teens sleep and a prosthetic hand controlled via smartphone.

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Games Before Bed WIll Help Kids Sleep Better
Zeds is a free app developed by the British broadcaster Channel 4, in partnership with an Oxford University neuroscientist, which is designed to be a fun and entertaining method of helping teenagers get more sleep. The app records and analyses users’ sleep patterns and builds a game around them, which is intended to demonstrate how a lack of sleep can dull creativity, reduce energy levels and negatively impact young peoples’ social lives. Players are directed to place their smartphone on the corner of their bed, where it can record sleep patterns and translate them into a platform game, in which a restless night’s sleep presents a tough challenge while deep sleep patterns are rewarded with an easier level, containing more power-ups. The belief is that the smartphone, the source of sleeplessness for many teens, is the perfect vehicle for an educational game and can be used to discourage late-night gadget use.

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Advanced Prosthetic Hand Controlled With Patients Smartphone
Teenager Patrick Kane, who lost part of his left arm and right leg due to meningitis as a child, is now the first person to be fitted with an entirely new advanced prosthetic limb which can be controlled via mobile app. The i-Limb Ultra Revolution bionic hand, produced by Livingston-based Touch Bionics, features a powered rotating thumb, 24 grip options, and an accompanying mobile control application, which is compatible with the iOS operating system. The app allows him to type, hold papers and use a computer mouse via a single screen tap. The new limb, which greatly improves mobility and is easy to control and master, could greatly enhance the quality of everyday life for prosthetic users.

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Health Care Platform Allows Patients To Find Optimal Care Based On Their Needs
India-based Medeel.com is offering a service that matches those in need of surgery with customized care packages based on their medical records. Aimed at those who have been advised to undergo medical procedures by their doctors or GPs, but want to ensure they get the cheapest deal or the best surgeons, Medeel first invites patients to detail their treatment needs and upload their medical records using its secure submission process. Medeel then shares this information with local hospitals that offer the required surgery. After around two or three days, customers receive customized healthcare plans from those hospitals, enabling them to choose the one which is the most suitable and offers the best care for their situation. The platform allows patients save money on costly surgical procedures, and also help them find doctors who can cater best to their specific needs.

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App Turns Smartphone Into A Fully Functional Hearing Aid
BioAid is an app and which takes in sounds from the user’s surroundings using the iPhone’s built-in microphone, amplifies it using algorithms tailored to the user, and plays it back through either the loudspeaker or headphones in real-time. Users can configure the app using one of six settings to best suit their condition, which can then be fine tuned even further. Traditional hearing aids can be cumbersome and expensive, and apps such as BioAid could provide a feasible and inexpensive way to improve the quality of life of deaf people.

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Smartphones May Soon Replace Doctors For Routine Physical Exams
The University of California, San Francisco, hopes to enroll a staggering 1 million people in its Health eHeart Study to see whether using mobile technology, including smartphone tracking of people’s heart rate and blood pressure, could help treat and prevent cardiovascular disease. The study reflects an overall trend of companies rapidly developing miniature medical devices that tap the power of the ubiquitous smartphone in hopes of changing how people monitor their own health, and The FDA cites industry estimates that 500 million smartphone users worldwide will use some type of health app by 2015. If the study deems these kinds of smartphone devices to be effective, they could play a big role in developing countries, where full-size medical equipment is in short supply but smartphones are becoming commonplace.

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 PSFK.com. 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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