fbpx

What medical technology brings new in 2017

  1. CRISPR

According to CBS, at the International Summit on Human Gene Editing, hosted by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in Washington, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the UK’s Royal Society, much discussion surrounded a newly developed  gene editing biotechnology called  CRISPR — derived from a bacterial protein — that lets scientists clip away or tweak specific portions of DNA. “It has the potential to help get rid of certain diseases by splicing out defective snippets of our genes. But because of the unknown long-term impact, some leading scientists are calling for a moratorium on its use,” says CBS.

2. Wideband medical radar

Painful mammograms requiring the patient to stand while her breast is compressed in an X-ray machine might soon be a thing of the past. Current mammography techniques are not only painful but expensive, and may expose the patient and clinicians to harmful ionizing radiation. But  medical radar is now being developed for imaging breast cancers, using radio waves instead of sound or radiation. Medical radar uses electromagnetics similar to a microwave oven or cell phone, but at extremely low power. It is also a fast and easy-to-use technology. The process takes less than a minute, and both breasts can be scanned while the patient lies comfortably on a table.

3. 3D bioprinting of human tissue

The process is based on liquefying cells from either the patient or a donor in order to provide oxygen and nutrients. The cells are then deposited on a scaffold, layer by layer, based on a predetermined configuration customized to the patient. Then the bioprinted structure is incubated until it becomes viable tissue. Several universities have created their own bioprinters, and manufacturers such as the Swiss-based regenHU Ltd. and German Envision TEC are selling 3D bioprinting equipment and materials.

California-based Organovo and other companies are currently providing functional human tissue for pharmaceutical testing, and in December 2016 Organovo presented the first data showing survival and sustained functionality of its 3D bioprinted human liver tissue when implanted into animal models. Organovo aims to submit such therapeutic liver tissue to the FDA in as soon as three years. Moreover, Russian 3D Bioprinting Solutions printed a functioning thyroid in a mouse model and claims to be ready to do the same in humans.

4. Smart acupuncture

It might be  one of the oldest forms of healing, but  acupuncture has some innovations on the way. According to Forbes, Kiseok Song, a student at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, has created a way to deliver “ smart acupuncture”—a version of the ancient practice that uses electro-acupuncture to provide data on treatment. While the technology is still in development, this could potentially transcend multiple fields of study as a way of healing.

5.  Electromagnetic acoustic imaging (EMAI)

This is an emerging imaging technology that combines bio-electromagnetism with acoustics. The result is an ultrasound device that’s safer than a CT and can provide images that approach MRI quality. It offers physicians the ability to distinguish between malignant and benign lesions at a fraction of the cost of higher-end systems such as MRI or PET.

The science is based on dissimilar tissues reacting differently to outside stimuli. Each layer of tissue will vibrate at its own unique frequency when stimulated. This can be measured and converted into an image by means of ultrasound detectors. Researchers have used light, ultrasound, and electromagnetic energy for stimulating tissue.

Cancerous tissue is 50 times more electrically conductive than normal tissue, and electromagnetic energy also has the ability to penetrate much more deeply into the body than light. This makes electromagnetic acoustic imaging an excellent technology for diagnosing a whole range of tumors despite their location. Studies have shown that the low levels of electromagnetic energy required for the body are safe, and can detect tumors as small as two millimeters in diameter. Not only is EMAI effective, less expensive, and safe, it’s fast and the equipment is portable.

6. The Microsoft Kinect-powered physical therapy 

With the physical therapy industry being estimated at USD 30 billion, it has been changing rapidly, also with the help of Virtual Reality and motion-sensor technology, ready to improve the process. For example, in 2015, the FDA approved Reflexion Health to introduce an  at-home rehabilitation program using Microsoft’s Kinect. Vera is a digital medicine software system that uses the Kinect technology in helping patients with musculoskeletal rehabilitation. When used, patients will see an avatar on their television screen that will coach and motivate them to perform the exercises at home. The sensor will track their progress and report the data back to the patient’s physical therapist who is also monitoring their activity in real-time.

7. Headspace helping meditation

According to the  National Center for Complementary Integrative Health, meditation can have a profound impact on both your mental and physical health. It’s becoming apparent that this is a great alternative to taking medication, and is something you should certainly consider if you experience anxiety. Though technology and meditation may not seem like a likely pairing, apps like Headspace can help you maintain your mental focus while on the go.

8. Nanobots treating strokes

Stroke is the No. 5 killer in the United States. Even when the patient survives the result can be long-term disability, which can be heartbreakingly painful and very expensive. Nanotherapeutics, treating disease on the molecular level, is already being used in the treatment of cancer and infections. Now emerging targets of  nanobots are breaking up stroke-causing blood clots and the precision delivery of drugs for reversing the effects of stroke.

Scientists have been studying platelet-sized nanobots coated with a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), one of the most effective clot-busting drugs known. These nanobots are fabricated as aggregates of multiple smaller nanoparticles (NPs). The microscale aggregates remain intact when flowing in blood under normal conditions, but break up into individual nanoscale components when exposed to the blocked artery.

9. The Echopixel – A revolution in 3D medical imaging

EchoPixel renders patient-specific anatomy in an intuitive, interactive virtual reality format, leading directly to increased clinical knowledge, faster operations, and better care. True 3D, from EchoPixel, is an advanced medical visualization software solution. It offers physicians an unprecedented opportunity to view and interact with patient tissues and organs in a truly 3D form, as if they were real physical objects.

It takes data from CT and MRI scans and transforms it into 3-D holographic images so she can view and interact with patient tissues and organs as if they were real physical objects. Medical 3-D imaging is not new, but the way organs appear to pop out of the screen and the ease at which the anatomy can be manipulated has never been seen before in medicine.

10. Human head transplants

Sergio Canavero , an Italian neurosurgeon, intends to attempt the first human head transplant, though no successful animal transplants with long-term survival have yet been made. Because of the difficulty of connecting the spinal cord, Canavero has suggested improvements in the process using a special blade and polyethylene glycol, a polymer used in medicine as well as in everything from skin cream to the conservation of the Mary Rose, can help start growth in spinal cord nerves.

A special bio-compatible glue will hold the spinal cord together so it can fuse with the donor body. The patient will then be put in a drug-induced coma for four weeks while the connection between the head and body heals. Canavero says all the technology he needs is available, and estimates the procedure will take about 36 hours and require the services of 150 medical professionals. He expects a 90% chance of success, as in a 90% chance the patient is up and walking around a few months after the surgery. This all still sounds like science fiction, and medical professionals are mostly skeptical of Canavero’s plan.

The rise and successful growth of smart clothes​ and smart materials

The market for sensors and smart materials used in clothing will grow from roughly $212 million in 2014 to more than $1.8 billion by 2021, according to a new report from industry analyst firm NanoMarkets, quoted by advancedtextilessource.com. Smart clothing might finally evolve to become the computing devices of the future with watches and displays being printed on fabrics. However, the materialization of either scenario depends on the industry’s response removing the main barriers to mass adoption of smart clothing.

Google unveiled the results of Project Jacquard, the company’s interactive textiles collaboration with Levi’s. The project’s connected smart jacket combines innovative technology with a Levi’s-style jacket that is indistinguishable from anything else in the brand’s line. The jacket allows wearers to control music, answer phone calls, use GPS and more, “all by tapping and swiping on the jacket’s sleeve,” says Sarah Perez at TechCrunch.

As Deborah Weinswig for Forbes, while developers have often turned to handbags and  footwear to house clunky tracking and charging devices, advances in technology have begun to allow product designers to embed electronics directly into fabrics, enabling them to add connectivity to the kinds of clothing we are already buying. “The market for wearables will reach $70 billion in 2025, up from $20 billion in 2015,  according to IDTechEx, and  International Data Corporation (IDC) expects that 110 million wearable devices will be shipped in 2016 alone, up 38.2% from last year. IDC also forecasts double-digit growth through 2020, when shipments of wearables are estimated to reach 237.1 million,” she added.

According to  New Electronics, “The potential of smart fabrics is huge and recent research suggests the market, including fabrics manufactured with smart materials and those that use embedded sensors, could be worth more than $ 1.8 billion by 2021, driven by the IoT [and] developments in smart materials and in smaller, more powerful sensors.”

Researchers from across the US funded by ARPA-E – the research arm of the US Department of Energy – are developing clothes that can change their thermal properties to adapt to the environment and wearer’s body. By changing its make-up or shuttling heat to and from the body, the clothing aims to make people comfortable in a wide range of external temperatures. Heat energy can move in three ways: through conduction, whereby the atoms in materials pass energy to each other; convection, whereby high-energy atoms move through the environment; and radiation, whereby heat energy moves as electromagnetic waves. Clothing can control heat by changing how much radiation it allows to escape the body or how easily air can circulate.

Alon Gorodetsky’s team at the University of California, Irvine, is aiming to control radiative heat. “We’re drawing inspiration from squid, from cephalopods, that can do these amazing camouflage displays,” he says. Squid can modify how they reflect visible wavelengths of light, using a cocktail of proteins in their skin. The team is adapting the technique to longer, infrared wavelengths that carry heat. “We are leveraging that for materials that can regulate the thermal emissions of an object,” says Gorodetsky, who won’t yet reveal how his team implements cephalopod-like radiation control. His team is partnering with US firm Under Armour, which makes base layers for sports clothing.

Another great technology invention was brought by  Scough, a company from New York that created stylish scarves that filter and clean the air you breathe. The carbon filter included in the pocket is the same technology that the military uses to protect against chemical warfare. Now it protects you against flu and pollution.

Adidas launched a new “cool” collection,  Climachill. The brand managed to include titanium and aluminium into the fabric of the garments in order to give the wearer a cold sensation while working out. The technology developed by Adidas is quite innovative indeed since the chilling sensations are only provided when the body is warm. This enables longer training sessions and better performance for athletes.

Another brand that is innovating is  Cityzen Sciences,  a French company that started creating smart textiles 9 years ago. In 2013, they came up with what would be the prototype of a “d-shirt” (Digital T-Shirt) that proved successful, as the company won a prize in the “inclusive innovation” category at CES Las Vegas 2013. This shirt offers a large number of functions such as heart rate monitor, built-in GPS, accelerometer, altimeter,etc. Moreover, Cityzen Sciences is also running a project called Smart Sensing aimed at finding new features for smart textile.

Wearable Senses, a research unit of the Eindhoven University of Technology, is running a project about survival clothing. Jacqueline Nanne developed a concept of what should be the sweater of the future, using temperature and moisture regulation properties of wool.

Joanna Berzowska, professor at the Fine Art Concordia University of Montreal presented her  project at the  Smart Fabric conference of San Francisco. This project is aimed at including electronic or computer functions within the fibre of the textile itself. In other words, the ones of  Emily Essert,  “the fibres consist of multiple layers of polymers, which, when stretched and drawn out to a small diameter, begin to interact with each other”. The possibilities brought by this incredible innovation would create attributes such as garments that change shapes and colours on their own, or clothes that use our energy to charge phone.

Some labs have tried embedding tiny nanoparticles inside ordinary cotton thread so that they can conduct electricity. But they must wrestle with problems in making the material last a long time, as well as needing to use chemicals to bind the nanoparticles to the cotton. By contrast, Maksim Skorobogatiy’s lab, a physicist at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal in Canada, turned to the manufacturing process used to create the optical fibers that carry TV and Internet signals. The technique allowed the Canadian team to make new polymer-based fibers based on melting the preformed material to pull out a long, thin fiber shape. Such fibers can conduct electric signals.

No matter how long it will still take for all the new technology to be here for all of us, one thing is for sure: the future truly looks bright and shinny!

BRAND MINDS premium announcements straight to your inbox

Subscribe and get 5% discount for tickets

    You agree to our terms and conditions.

    OK, I agree to receive the BRAND MINDS newsletter with information from industry leaders and business experts. The content is related to ultimate technologies, marketing trends and updates about BRAND MINDS events.

    OK, I agree to receive the latest info and offers for BRAND MINDS events when I am surfing on other websites as well. For this, I agree to allow cookies and other online digital marketing tools to personalize site content, social media features and to analyze the traffic by sharing my navigation status with BRAND MINDS SRL advertising and social media partners such as, but not limited to, Meta, LinkedIn and Google.

    × WhatsApp Help