PSFK Picks: Top Five Health Innovations Of The Week

PSFK Picks: Top Five Health Innovations Of The Week

A wristband that reads your mood and a 3D printed ear that could give you super-human hearing.The most innovative stories from the world of wellness.

Andrew Vaterlaus-Staby
  • 6 june 2013

Each week with its partner Boehringer Ingelheim bring you a snapshot of Five Innovative Ideas that are reshaping the health care industry. This week’s innovations include a wristband that reads your mood and a 3D printed ear that could give you super-human hearing.


Wellness Tracker Takes Mood Rings To The Next Level
The W/Me wristband is a wearable sensor that monitors a user’s autonomic nervous system, which provides feedback on body activity that they may not be aware of. In order to provide a more holistic view of health, the device translates the data it collects into three scores: mental state, agility, and ANS age. Mental state can be either passive, excitable, pessimistic, anxious, or ideally, balanced somewhere in the middle. Agility score measures how easily the body adapts to changes in the environment and how much stress the user is feeling. Additionally, ANS age calculates the approximate age of the user’s ANS based on breathing, stress, and other factors. The W/Me project is different from most activity tracking in that it can provides users with a complete picture of mental and physical health.


Flexible, Wearable Sensor Could Revolutionize Heat Monitoring
Researchers have developed a new, wearable sensor that could greatly improve the accuracy and practicality of heart monitoring. Developed by Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University, the paper-thin, stamp-sized sensor is made with flexible organic materials and can be worn under an adhesive bandage on the wrist to monitor the pulse. The reduced scale and high sensitivity is achieved with a thin middle layer of compressible rubber covered with tiny pyramid-shaped bumps only a few microns wide. When pressure is applied the pyramids deform slightly, which results in a measurable change in the electromagnetic field and the current flow in the device. The degree of sensitivity achieved by the monitor means that when placed on a patient’s wrist it can measure the two distinct peaks of the pulse wave as well as fluctuations within the wave, opening up the possibility for extremely detailed diagnostics. The device offers advantages in situations where the pulse needs to be measured constantly, such as monitoring patients during surgery or athletes during sporting activity.


3D Printed Ear Can Hear Beyond Normal Human Ability
Scientists at Princeton University have designed a 3D printed bionic ear that can augment normal human hearing. To build the device, researchers 3D printed cells and nanoparticles into the shape of an ear, and then combined a small coil antenna with cartilage to create this bionic device. The result was a fully-functional organ that can hear radio frequencies a million times higher than our human ears. The project was intended less as an exploration of potential health implications, but rather to examine the possibilities of using technology to extend the normal human abilities.


Search Tool Helps Users Find Personalized Health Information
Medivizor is an internet search tool that offers results personalized to each user. Currently open to those looking for information on breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, colorectal cancer, and melanoma, Medivizor users first sign up and enter details about themselves and their condition – or those of the person they’re caring for. The service then delivers relevant news and updates that may help them learn more about their condition and what it means for them. The research on the site is curated based on quality, ease of comprehension and whether it includes actionable options for patients to pursue. Medivizor doesn’t aim to do away with professional opinion, but instead empowers patients to do their own reliable research they can then share with their doctors.


Scientists Create Embryonic Stem Cells By Cloning
Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University have figured out how to produce human embryonic stem cells by cloning them via somatic cell nuclear transfer. The goal was to create undifferentiated stem cells that wouldn’t be rejected by a recipient’s own immune system. To achieve this, a research team removed the DNA from donated unfertilized human eggs and inserted them with skin cells extracted from a human adult. After coaxing them with precisely-timed electronic pulses, an inactivated virus, and a chemical bath, the cells began to divide, generating a viable colony. The breakthrough could eventually lead to therapeutic cloning in which patient-specific lines of embryonic stem cells can be generated. These stem cells could be used to help a patient restore his or her own tissue, like heart cells or other bioengineered organs, without the fear of rejection, while greatly improving recovery times.

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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