Pressure sensors generated from pattern-forming bacteria

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Paul Ruffin Scarborough, Stefan Zauscher, and Duke colleagues have programmed bacteria with a synthetic gene circuit to turn them into working devices.

As a bacterial colony grows into the shape of a hemisphere, the gene circuit triggers the production of a protein, to distribute within the colony, that recruits inorganic materials. Gold nanoparticles enable  the system to form a shell around the bacterial colony, resulting in  a pressure sensor.

This is the first time that a composite structure was produced by programming the cells themselves, and controlling their access to nutrients, but still leaving the bacteria free to grow in three dimensions.

Click to view Duke University video


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University, featuring:  Vinod KhoslaJustin SanchezBrian OtisBryan JohnsonZhenan BaoNathan IntratorCarla PughJamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall – Robert Greenberg

Video: Boston VC’s on funding digital health innovation

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Video:  Flare Capital’s Bill Geary, Bessemer’s Steve Kraus, Oak HC/FT’s Nancy Brown, and Optum Ventures’ Michael Weintraub on funding and commercializing innovation.

Recorded at ApplySci’s Digital Health + Neurotech conference at the MIT Media Lab, September 19, 2017


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University, featuring:  Vinod KhoslaJustin SanchezBrian OtisBryan JohnsonZhenan BaoNathan IntratorCarla PughJamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall

Ingestible, flexible sensor to diagnose gastrointestinal disorders

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Canan Dagdeviren, Giovanni Traverso, Bob Langer, and MIT and Brigham and Women’s colleagues have built a swallowable, flexible sensor that adheres to the stomach wall or intestinal lining to measure digestive track contractions.  It could be used to help diagnose gastrointestinal disorders or to monitor food intake.

The piezoelectric device generates a current and voltage when mechanically deformed. Elastic polymers allow it to conform to and stretch with skin.

The sensor has only been tested on pigs.  It was able to remain active for 2 days.  If found safe to be used in humans, its flexibility could help avoid the side effects associated with current, rigid ingestible devices. Future versions will include the harvesting of some of the piezoelectric generated energy to power additional sensors and wireless transmitters.  The elimination of a battery would further improve safety.


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University, featuring:  Vinod KhoslaJustin SanchezBrian OtisBryan JohnsonZhenan BaoNathan IntratorCarla PughJamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall

Sensor-embedded prosthetic monitors gait, detects infection

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The Monitoring OsseoIntegrated Prostheses uses a limb which includes a titanium fixture surgically implanted into the femur. Bone grows at the implant’s connection point, leaving  a small metallic connector protruding from the remaining leg.  An accompanying artificial limb then can be attached or detached. The same procedure can be performed for upper limbs.

Advantages include less pain, a fluid walking motion, and a more stable, better-fitting limb. However, infection risk is increased due to the metal profusion. This is meant to be addressed by electrochemical and skin sensors, including a  bio-compatible array embedded within the residual limb. The array tracks changes in body temperature and pH balance, which indicate infection. It also monitors the fit of the bone and prosthetic limb, and the healing process, which could help doctors to speed recuperation.


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University, featuring:  Vinod KhoslaJustin SanchezBrian OtisBryan JohnsonZhenan BaoNathan IntratorCarla PughJamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall

Piezoelectric sensor determines antibiotic efficacy in 1 hour

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Ward Johnson and NIST colleagues have developed a piezoelectric sensor to rapidly determine whether an antibiotic combats an infection. Quartz-crystal resonators, with varying vibrations, measure surface particle changes, to quickly sense mechanical fluctuations of bacterial cells and changes induced by an antibiotic.

 Results are provided in less than an hour.  Current antimicrobial tests require days to grow colonies of bacterial cells, which could result in the progression of infections before an effective treatment is identified, and lead to antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.

Click to view NIST video.


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University, featuring:  Vinod KhoslaJustin SanchezBrian OtisBryan JohnsonZhenan BaoNathan IntratorCarla PughJamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall

 

Radar monitor uses appliances to track health wirelessly

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Toru Sato and Kyoto University and Panasonic colleagues have refined a wireless, radar-based  vital measuring device they developed last year.

The original sensor combined a radar with signal analysis algorithms to measure how the body moves as the heart beats. Software filters isolated the heart’s minute motions while the body moved.  However it was extremely large.

The team has now integrated:

  •  A wider 79-GHz frequency band
  • Improved measurement sensitivity by integrating CMOS semiconductors into a single chip for millimeter-wave radar
  • Increased sensitivity with finer resolution in the distance direction of the measurement range
  • Precise separation of the noise that would otherwise affect the estimation accuracy of the heartbeat interval in order to simultaneously measure the heartbeat intervals of several people with a single radar

The device is now 1/10 of its predecessor’s size.

The goal is to seamlessly integrate health sensors in household appliances, such as lighting, to safely, accurately, and unobtrusively monitor residents.

Click to view Panasonic video


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University, featuring:  Vinod KhoslaJustin SanchezBrian OtisBryan JohnsonZhenan BaoNathan IntratorCarla PughJamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall

Implanted vagus nerve stimulator partially reverses vegetative state

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A person described as being in a vegetative state for 15 years showed partial signs of consciousness after a vagus nerve stimulator was implanted.  University de Lyon’s Angele Sirigu led the research. This challenges the belief that those unconscious for more than 12 months could not be revived.   It also poses a potential challenge to the vegetative diagnosis, and diagnosis in disorders of consciousness generally.

After one month of VNS, the patient’s attention, movements, and brain activity significantly improved, and he began responding to simple orders that were impossible before.

Brain-activity recordings revealed major changes. A theta EEG signal (to distinguish between a vegetative and minimally conscious state) increased significantly in those areas of the brain involved in movement, sensation, and awareness. The brain’s functional connectivity also increased. A PET scan showed increases in metabolic activity in both cortical and subcortical regions of the brain.

The team is now planning a large  study to confirm and extend the therapeutic potential of VNS for patients in a vegetative or minimally conscious state.


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University, featuring:  Vinod KhoslaJustin SanchezBrian OtisBryan JohnsonZhenan BaoNathan IntratorCarla PughMark Kendall

App uses phone’s camera to monitor heart health

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Exoskeleton builds muscle capacity, improves posture in cerebral palsy

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Thomas Bulea and NIH colleagues have developed a robotic exoskeleton for children with cerebral palsy.

“Crouch gait,” where a person walks with a perpetual bend in their knees, is a hallmark of the disease. This damages muscles and joints and  results in  paralysis for half of cerebral palsy patients.

Bulea believes that increasing the amount and intensity of gait training  is key to successful outcomes.  The exoskeleton  is  meant to strengthen  muscles when children are learning to walk,  instead of treating the problem when its already progressed into adulthood.

7 study participants  were able to walk with the exoskeleton ,without the help of other  devices, and without relying on the robot entirely.  Their muscle capacity and posture improved.

According to Bulea: “We do a lot of things early on that weaken their muscles — cut their tendons, inject them,” she said. “We’re trying to come up with solutions that are win-win. … Training them to stay more upright that will keep them walking longer, that’s our pie-in-the-sky goal.”

The next step is to make the system lighter,  and independent of a grounded power source, so that it could be used at home


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + NeuroTech Boston on September 19, 2017 at the MIT Media Lab – featuring  Joi Ito – Ed Boyden – Roz Picard – George Church – Nathan Intrator –  Tom Insel – John Rogers – Jamshid Ghajar – Riccardo Sabatini – Phillip Alvelda – Michael Weintraub – Nancy Brown – Steve Kraus – Bill Geary – Mary Lou Jepsen


ANNOUNCING WEARABLE TECH + DIGITAL HEALTH + NEUROTECH SILICON VALLEY – FEBRUARY 26 -27, 2018 @ STANFORD UNIVERSITY –  FEATURING:  ZHENAN BAO – JUSTIN SANCHEZ – BRYAN JOHNSON – NATHAN INTRATOR – VINOD KHOSLA

Patch monitors diabetes compounds in sweat for 1 week

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University of Texas professor Shalini Prasad has developed an adhesive sensor that measures diabetes-associated compounds in small amounts of sweat.

Blood glucose levels, cortisol and interleukin-6 are detected in perspiration for one week with full signal integrity.  The device uses ambient sweat, created by the body with out stimulation.

The sensor can be placed anywhere on the skin and takes customized readings up to once an hour.  Data is sent to a user’s phone.

Prasad estimates that the sensors would cost 7 cents each if produced in bulk, making the technology truly accessible.


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + NeuroTech Boston on September 19, 2017 at the MIT Media Lab – featuring  Joi Ito – Ed Boyden – Roz Picard – George Church – Nathan Intrator –  Tom Insel – John Rogers – Jamshid Ghajar – Riccardo Sabatini – Phillip Alvelda – Michael Weintraub – Nancy Brown – Steve Kraus – Bill Geary – Mary Lou Jepsen


ANNOUNCING WEARABLE TECH + DIGITAL HEALTH + NEUROTECH SILICON VALLEY – FEBRUARY 26 -27, 2018 @ STANFORD UNIVERSITY –  FEATURING:  ZHENAN BAO – JUSTIN SANCHEZ – BRYAN JOHNSON – NATHAN INTRATOR – VINOD KHOSLA