Top Five Health Innovations of the Week

New Aros cooler comes with new controls but still doesn’t overcome noise issues associated with A/C units

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 a health sensor made from graphene and a shirt that can detect epileptic seizures. Be sure to check out Boehringer Ingelheim’s FacebookTwitter and Pinterest pages to stay on top of all things health. 

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Graphene Transforms Rubber Bands Into Full-Fledged Medical Sensors
Graphene is a material that exhibits exceptional strength and provides an electromechanical response to movement when deformed, which has been revolutionizing the world of materials science. Researchers from Trinity College Dublin and the University of Surrey in the UK have used this material to transform a cheap but highly elastic material, a rubber band, into a high performance strain sensor, called the G-band. The stretchy material senses motion such as breathing, pulse and joint movement and could be used to create lightweight sensor suits for vulnerable patients such as premature babies, making it possible to remotely monitor their subtle movements and alert a doctor to any worrying behaviours. In the world of activity monitoring, where hard electronic technologies are struggling to adhere and conform to the human form, a flexible sensor like this opens up very interesting product design possibilities.

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Shirt Detects Epileptic Seizures And Immediately Calls A Doctor
WEMU is a sensor-laden shirt that keeps track of epilepsy sufferers’ physiological signs and alerts doctors of seizures. Created by France-based Bioserenity, the lightweight shirt can be worn underneath another layer and uses biometric sensors to track heart activity and muscle contraction. The information is sent to patients’ smartphones via Bluetooth and uploaded to a cloud system so health professionals can also access the data. Using the WEMU app or software, both doctors and patients can easily see their vital signs and get alerts when a seizure takes place. If it does, the doctor can immediately contact emergency services and connect with the patient’s’ family or friends through video chat on their smartphone, delivering advice on how to help. WEMU could help save patients’ lives, but it’s also useful for doctors to diagnose epilepsy, which is notoriously difficult to diagnose. WEMU enables continuous, home-based monitoring that can give doctors a better indication of the best course of treatment.

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App Analyzes Selfies To Spot Early Signs Of Anemia
While a lot of people frequently suspect themselves of being anemic, an exam from a doctor or a lab test is necessary to rule out the suspicion. A main part working toward a diagnosis involves examining the patient’s skin hue, including looking at places that should normally be red, such as the gums, around fingernails, and under the eyelids. Two Australian medical students have created a smartphone app called Eyenaemia able to do that nearly automatically. The app comes with a color card that’s used as a calibration tool. The user simply pulls back their eyelid, places the card below the eye and takes a selfie with the app. The app then analyzes the conjunctiva and spits its prediction which can be used to decide how to proceed further. The Eyenaemia app just won Microsoft’s 2014 Imagine World Cup, and demonstrated another way in which the smartphone can be a vital first line of defense tool in preventative care.

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Layered Film Delivers System Could Supply Medicine Internally For Up To A Year
Researchers at MIT have developed a new technique that can lengthen the lifespan of targeted drug delivery systems to up to 14 months over current methods. The researchers have developed a layered system of nano-scale films, which allows for the controlled release of medicine over a longer period of time than was previously possible. The researchers tested the delivery system on a small molecule, nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drug, diclofenac, used to treat osteoarthritis and chronic pain. The benefits of a localized, sustainable drug-delivery system are numerous, including minimized exposure of vital organs to high doses of medicine, maintaining a relevant concentration of medicine in the afflicted region, and allowing the patient to go over a year between re-implantation of the device. Hopefully, this technology will prove to be a useful tool in easing the process of treating numerous debilitating conditions.

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Connected Mattress Sensor Matches Circadian Rhythms To Help Sleepers Get A Full Night’s Rest
Having unveiled its Aura sleep system at CES in January of this year, Withings is now making the innovative product available for purchase. The Aura includes a sensor that’s placed under the mattress capable of continuously monitoring the person’s heart rate, breathing, and movement while sleeping. Additionally, the system keeps track of ambient noise, light, and temperature in the bedroom. All this information is recorded and can be reviewed in the morning to find out what may be causing poor sleep in the middle of the night. Moreover, the Aura helps the person get to bed and to wake up using a special light that changes in color and intensity. The goal is to have ambient light match the person’s circadian rhythm, gently putting one to sleep and waking when most comfortable and without a sudden loud alarm. The system comes with a matching smartphone app that can be used to analyze sleep data, set Aura’s timers, and to figure out what’s keeping you awake at night.

PSFK has partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim to bring you a steady stream of inspiring news and ideas in the health and wellness space. Every two weeks, 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 FacebookTwitter and Pinterest pages to stay on top of all things health.

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