EPSRC funds 15 creative healthcare engineering projects



The EPSRC is funding technologies in three health areas:

1. Medical Imaging.  Projects include technology which could:

-lead to better diagnosis and treatment for epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, depression, dementia as well as breast cancers and osteoporosis

-reduce risks during brain surgery by creating ultrasound devices in needles

-improve therapies for brain injured patients and help severely disabled people interact with the world around them

2. Acute Treatment Technology.  Projects include:

-a multiphoton scanner and a multiphoton endoscope to collect images of tissue at depth and sub-cellular level, allowing immediate diagnosis during surgery

-ultrasonic bone-penetrating needles to deliver drugs and obtain biopsies in bone

-laser spectroscopy to quickly analyze tissue in cancer patient

-a pulsed laser system to restore tooth enamel

3. Assistive Technology and Rehabilitation.  Projects aim to:

-improve prosthetics, hearing aids, and develop a wearable material to support healing muscles or create an exoskeleton.

Study shows babies, children and adults learn in their sleep



Sleep helps us to learn. It may just be too hard for a brain to take in the flood of new experiences and make sense of them at the same time. Instead, our brains look at the world for a while and then shut out new input and sort through what they have seen.

Both children and adults who had more slow-wave sleep–an especially deep, dreamless kind of sleep–learned better.

Implantable chip analyzes blood and sends data to doctors



A multidisciplinary Swiss team has developed a tiny, implantable device that instantly analyses the blood before wirelessly sending the data to a doctor.

The device can be used for monitoring general health, but the team also sees immediate applications in monitoring the efficacy of treatments such as chemotherapy in order to tailor drug delivery to a patient’s unique needs.

Fujitsu facial imaging technology measures pulse



A Fujitsu research lab has developed software that can accurately measure a subject’s pulse using the small digital cameras attached to smartphones and tablets.

The technology is based on the fact that the brightness of an individual’s face changes slightly as their heart beats, due to their blood flow. Hemoglobin, which carries oxygen around the body, absorbs green light, so analyzing the change in color of parts of the face reveals their heart rate.

As most image sensors capture pixel information in red, blue and green, they have the ability to detect hemoglobin built in. Fujitsu’s technology keeps track of specific regions of the face over time to take pulse measurements.

A move toward aggregating health data from various devices and apps



It seems that every day a new app or device promising the ultimate in health or fitness monitoring enters the market.  A startup has created a personal analytics dashboard which gives people a big picture view of their own aggregated data and underlying patterns, helping them make sense of the numbers.

Ultra thin sensors printed on skin to monitor health



Eliminating the elastomer backing makes the device one-thirtieth as thick, and thus “more conformal to the kind of roughness that’s present naturally on the surface of the skin,” says John Rogers at the University of Illinois. It can be worn for up to two weeks and can measure temperature, strain, and the hydration state of the skin, and also be used to monitor wound healing.