Each week PSFK.com 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 lightweight e-skin that monitors health and a blood purifier that filters out viruses.
New E-Skin Brings Wearable Tech To The Next Level
Scientists at the University of Tokyo have developed a flexible sensor thinner than plastic wrap and lighter than a feather. The scientists refer to their breakthrough as ‘imperceptible electronics,’ which is in fact a type of ‘e-skin’. When a patch of the material is fastened to the human body, researchers claim it is all but impossible to notice. Along with providing a touch sensor type system, the imperceptible electronics could also be used to monitor the health of a patient, embedded as part of a prosthetic to provide feedback, and possibly form the basis for robotic skin in the future. The material is nearly indestructible, being bendable, crushable and immune to wet conditions.
Small Device Filters Deadly Viruses Out Of The Blood
The Hemopurifier is a small pen-sized dialysis device that makes it possible to clear patients’ blood of viral disease outside of the hospital. Developed by Aethlon Medical, the machine is similar to devices used by those with kidney failure, who need them to filter waste and excess water from their blood. Although the device could help those patients avoid having to spend time connected to a home machine, it differs from a traditional dialysis machines in that it pumps antibodies into the blood during the process. These antibodies then attach themselves to viruses present in the blood, such as HIV and hepatitis C, allowing them to be flushed out. The Hemopurifier could evidently be useful for treating existing patients, but its portable nature could also prove vital in the event of a bioterrorist attack, where treatment is needed on the ground.
Personalized Prescription App Speeds Up Time At The Pharmacy
ZappRx is a Cambridge-based startup working to reduce errors, lower costs for pharmacies and increase convenience for consumers with a mobile app and e-prescribing system that connects doctors, pharmacies and patients. The system, which is introduced to the patient by the doctor, enables a patient to track their medications and store all relevant payment and insurance information on the phone. The company enables pharmacies to pre-process the patients information so that when they arrive at the drugstore to pick up new medication, the patient just needs to show the app to the pharmacist. The app also lets patients set reminders and track when they take their medication – and it informs the doctor when the medication has been picked up.
Temporary Tattoo Measures Athletes’ Exhaustion
Researchers at the University of California-San Diego have developed a sensor that is applied to the skin like a temporary tattoo. Once in place, it monitors chemicals in the wearer’s sweat to gauge physical exertion. This stick-on patch goes further than wearable electronics because it allows athletes to monitor the amount of lactate in their system – the chemical responsible for muscle soreness and fatigue. Before now, the only way to collect this data was by collecting a blood sample using a pin prick. The patch will make for a much less invasive way to collect data on athletes in training, and serve as a highly practical example of the wearable tech movement.
Computer System Compares Patient Data To Improve Care
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have built a system for generating personalized health assessments that uses techniques common in web recommendation engines. The aptly named Collaborative Assessment and Recommendation Engine (CARE) uses collaborative filtering to analyze the similarities among patients in hopes of identifying common symptoms and treatments. Notre Dame computer science associate professor Nitesh V. Chawla and his doctoral student, Darcy A. Davis, developed the system with the hope of improving the ability of hospitals to improve their personalized disease risk prevention methods.
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