Top Five Health Innovations Of The Week
This week’s innovations include Google Glass in the operating room and an app that lets the infirm crowdsource tasks. Innovative stories from the world of wellness.
Each week PSFK.com with its partner Boehringer Ingelheim brings you a snapshot of five innovative ideas that are reshaping the health care industry. This week’s innovations include Google Glass in the operating room and an app that lets the infirm crowdsource tasks. Be sure to check out Boehringer Ingelheim’s Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages to stay on top of all things health.
Dr. Selene Parekh is an orthopedic surgeon at Duke Medical Center who has been using Google Glass since last year as an aid in the operating room. He now uses it to record and archive all of his surgeries at Duke, and soon he will use it to stream live feeds of his operations to hospitals in India as a way to train and educate orthopedic surgeons there. At Duke and other hospitals, a growing number of surgeons are using Google Glass to stream their operations online, float medical images in their field of view, and hold video consultations with colleagues as they operate. The hands-free device allows for greater multitasking in the operating room, as well as streaming video which can be used as a learning tool for students.
Object SCiO is a handheld device that enables users to collect information about any food, medicine, plant, or physical object simply by scanning. Developed by Consumer Physics, SCiO is around the same size as a USB drive and contains an array of molecular sensors that use a method called near-infrared spectroscopy. Typically, machines used for this type of analysis are bulky, require cables and are expensive. Users simply press the SCiO against the material or object they want to scan for around two seconds. The device then sends the information via Bluetooth LE to iPhones and compatible Android handsets, displaying it in an easy to understand way through the companion app. The device works in a wide range of situations, and users can identify unlabeled medicines, get nutritional information about their food, analyze the quality of the soil their plants are growing in, or even find out if the avocado in their fruit bowl is ripe without cutting into it.
Wrap-Genius is an app giving a personalized framework for food that provides real-time nutrition data of the food at hand, providing unique nutrition labels for food that can be customized to anyone’s diet. Redesign of the nutrition label hinges on three color-coded categories: Quick Facts (in neutral blue), Avoid Too Much (in alert red), and Get Enough (in good-to-go green). By default, Avoid Too Much contains ingredients such as sodium and saturated fat, but it could be easily configured for a diet that’s high in saturated-fats from red meat or coconut oil, or for someone with diabetes, who needs to control sugar intake to the gram. The app allows people to get a clear and accurate nutritional picture of the food in front of them.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is launching a program to develop technologies to treat psychiatric disorders by electrically stimulating the brain. DARPA’s SUBNETS program (short for Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies) will fund teams of researchers to develop brain interfaces, computational models of brain activity and clinical therapies for such illnesses as depression, chronic pain, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The team aims to develop an implanted device that targets brain regions involved in an individual’s psychiatric or neurological disease. The device would record signals from and stimulate neurons to rehabilitate the malfunctioning brain circuitry.
STANDWITH is a new app that enables caregivers to tap patients’ friends and family to help with everyday chores. The app essentially works as a TaskRabbit that relies on goodwill rather than small payments. Even when family members are ill, they still need to take care of the laundry, groceries and picking up the kids from school while keeping on top of medication schedules and the stress of feeling poorly. STANDWITH lets caregivers use patients’ contacts and social networks to let them know if they can help out with small tasks. Friends can see who has agreed to do which tasks and can chat via the app to arrange sharing of duties. Those who can’t donate their time can still use the app to purchase needed items and services via AmazonFresh or Uber.
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, Twitter and Pinterest pages, where they are publishing a regular stream of inspiring and informative content.