tech

Bodies of the Future – The Incredible Exoskeleton

Films like iRobot, Blade Runner, RoboCop, or Terminator may merely seem like fantasies, but contemporary technology says otherwise. In fact, robotic exoskeleton technology – or the ability to construct robots that physically emulate human beings – is on the rise and growing quickly. Technology companies, universities, and government agencies are developing their own versions of enhanced, outer-limb bionics that would fit comfortably around a person’s limbs. Engineers in Italy have already developed a robot that is arguably the most sophisticated machine in the world to date. This form of technology involves a variety of coverage, such as assisted living, mechanized warfare, space exploration, and trauma recovery. So, what does this mean for us regular human beings? For starters, these innovative machines can be applied to countless situations. Italy’s wearable “Body Extender” is proven to lift up to 50lbs and can exert 10 times the force the user applies to an object. The machine is also said to be completely versatile and flexible, considering its ability to be lifted, rotated, and positioned suitably. Fabio Salsedo of Perceptual Robotics Laboratory, who leads the project, says the machines could even be applied to rescuing a victim on an earthquake in the event that the victim could be harmed if not maneuvered properly. Other practical robots include the “ReWalk Exoskeleton,” which is designed to enable those with lower limb disabilities to walk upright...

Germ-Zapping Robots Disinfect Hospitals Nationwide

The CDC estimates that 1 in 25 hospital patients acquire at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI). Based on statistics from 2011, the approximate 772,000 HAIs in U.S. acute care hospitals were responsible for an estimated 75,000 deaths that year. The balancing act between treating and preventing illness in hospitals continues to pose a challenge to healthcare providers, administrators and the patients they serve. The associated healthcare costs of HAIs have been estimated at billions of dollars each year. Among the top HAIs include: Catheter‐Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTIs) Surgical Site Infections (SSIs) Central Line‐Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSIs) Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) Infections MRSA Infections To help turn the tide, the CDC has provided a set of recommendations to aid hospitals in preventing HAIs and the Xenex Germ Zapping Robot™ is steadily emerging as a leader in the field of automated disinfection technology. The Xenex technology was developed by two Epidemiologists, Julie Stachowiak and Mark Stibich, and was accepted to the renowned Houston Technology Center, recognized as the largest technology business incubator in Texas. The first version of the Xenex Robot was launched commercially in 2010. Xenex technology is based on the cellular damaging properties of UV. The robot works by producing “high intensity ultraviolet light” through xenon flash lamps. This UV light is then thoroughly spread across the disinfecting spectrum which is called the UV-C. The vulnerability of pathogens to...

Getting an MRI or Boarding a Pirate Ship?

What if we could make life a little easier for scared and sick children? New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, in collaboration with GE Healthcare, has come up with a way to try to minimize the stress put on young children when they require scans. For anyone who has ever been in an MRI machine, they’re scary, loud and not meant for the claustrophobic. These cool designs could make them a tad more enjoyable, though! Pirate themed brain scanning!!      ...

Glucose Diaries

According to the CDC, approximately 29.1 million people live with diabetes in the US. That is a staggering number that is 9.3% of the US population! So, what efforts are being undertaken to help remedy this situation? With a multitude of glucose meters on the market, it can sometimes be difficult for endocrinologists to maintain the inventory of software and cables necessary to access all of them. Additionally, combing through a handwritten glucose diary to identify patterns that could help patients with their diabetes management is an outdated process. David Ahn, MD, creator of the Sugar Streak app for iPhone, believes we can improve diabetes care by giving patients tools that make the monitoring aspect of diabetes care simpler, and maybe adding a dash of fun. The Sugar Streak app encourages users to commit to monitoring their sugar levels regularly, and then rewards them for hitting streaks. View a video about SugarStreak...

Artificial Neuron Replicates Biochemical Communication in the Brain

Let me start off by saying that I think this is super cool, especially having majored in neuroscience in undergrad. It is an artificial neuron that can mimic neural communication in the brain. It’s the size of a fingertip and scientists are saying that it can get even smaller and still be controlled remotely. Mind control anyone?? But, maybe it could help patients who have neurodegenerative disorders or other debilitating conditions. It seems as though the possibilities are endless. Here are some more details and a link to the video as well. Advancements in organic bioelectronics have helped researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet, in collaboration with Linköping University, develop an artificial neuron that mimics the functions of human neurons. Previously, scientists were limited to electrical stimulation of neurons in the brain, but this new development might one day allow for biochemical communication between an artificial neuron and the real thing. The device is currently the size of a fingertip, but could one day be miniaturized and implanted in the brain where it would be controlled remotely, allowing researchers or physicians (or those with more sinister motives) to manipulate brain chemistry in the patient or host. The ultimate goal of this research would be to improve treatment and care of neurological disorders by exerting greater control over neurotransmitters responsible for chemical reactions in the brain. Click here for a PDF...

Master the MCAT On Your iPhone

There is no shortage of MCAT resources, especially those claiming to be something along the lines of ‘the best thing since sliced bread’. So, how do you sift out the bad ones and figure out what will really work? We took the time to find for you one of the best and most unique resources: the MCAT 2015 Mastery app.     We should note that this is not a stand-alone resource but an awesome supplement that every student should consider. One user says:     Below, we’ve outlined the ten best features of this app, if you’re not convinced already.     1.  You don’t need internet or data to access any content. Hellooo travel-studying and a better battery life!     2.  Of 144 reviews, the app has a high rating of 4.5 stars.     3.  There are over 1100+ official practice questions (and counting!)     4.  Streamlined and highly organized content to get maximum learning in minimal time.     5.  It costs only $20 (in app) to unlock all the content.     6.  After downloading the free app and purchasing the full version, if after two weeks you don’t love it you are eligible for a full refund.     7.  Questions can be sorted by what is tested most frequently on the exam so you don’t end up wasting time on...

The Digital 3D Heart

In medical school we frequently use books, models, and online training tools to help us understand the intricate and immensely detailed anatomy of the human body. However, these diagrams are often times 2D, and it can be difficult to fully grasp the complexity of organs. Even the cadaver lab still poses difficulty since the bodies tend to, we could say, not keep so well over the length of the course. This is why we will be examining a digital tool that will hopefully be utilized soon in medical training.    Glassworks   Inventive Medical Ltd. has partnered with Glassworks, a high-end digital animation house in Amsterdam, to bring the medical community a new tool in cardiological education. Heartworks is a computer-generated replica of the human heart, designed with incredible detail right down to each individual capillary.   This 3D simulation of cardiac anatomy can be used as a standalone teaching tool, or in conjunction with one of Inventive Medical’s training mannequins. With practical applications in transthoracic echocardiography, cardiovascular pathology, and Doppler or M-mode imaging, Heartworks offers medical students and cardiac specialists a unique way to study and perform research. Click here for more information on the Heartworks project from...