Watson’s health care capabilities described to lawmakers



On Capitol Hill, IBM representatives described the supercomputer’s new health-care related features, including the ability to ingest patients’ medical information and synthesize thousands of medical journals and other reference materials along with patient preferences to suggest treatment options.

The Watson team has collaborated with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and insurer Well Point to teach the computer about the medical world.

Crowdfunding an autonomic nervous system monitor



The W/Me sensor has the ability to capture electrical impulses relayed from the sinoatrial (SA) node, a group of specialized cells in the right atrium. It uses a proprietary algorithm to measure heart rate variability, map the autonomic nervous system, and indicate mental state.

Quantum computing AI lab from Google, NASA and USRA



Google, NASA and the Universities Space Research Association will put a 512 qubit machine from D-Wave at the disposal of researchers around the globe.  The USRA will invite teams of scientists and engineers to share time on the unique supercomputer. The goal is to study how quantum computing might be leveraged to advance machine learning.

Microrobots sense retinal oxygen levels



Professor Bradley Nelson and researchers at ETH Zurich have created a miniature robot that can be injected into the eye to precisely measure the retina’s oxygen supply.  Many diseases, including Glaucoma, can interfere with oxygen delivery to the retina.  Rapid diagnosis and treatment is essential in the attempt to preserve vision.

Wireless detection of brain trauma



New technology developed at UC Berkeley uses wireless signals to provide real-time, noninvasive diagnoses of brain swelling or bleeding. The device analyzes data from low-energy electromagnetic waves, similar to the kind used to transmit radio and mobile signals.  It is sensitive enough to distinguish between a normal brain and a diseased brain with one single noncontact set of measurements.

Skin mounted electrode arrays measure neural signals



Professor Todd Coleman of UCSD is developing foldable, stretchable electrode arrays that can non-invasively measure neural signals. They can also provide more in-depth analysis by including thermal sensors to monitor skin temperature and light detectors to analyze blood oxygen levels.  The device is powered by micro solar panels and uses antennae to wirelessly transmit or receive data.  Professor Coleman wants to use the device on premature babies to monitor their mental state and detect the onset of seizures that can lead to brain development problems such as epilepsy.

Nanotube sensor detects glucose in saliva



A team led by Mitchell Lerner at the University of Pennsylvania has developed a carbon nanotube based transistor that can detect glucose levels in body fluids, including saliva. The nanotubes are coated with molecules of pyrene-1-boronic acid, which makes them highly sensitive for glucose detection. When exposed to glucose, the nanotube transistor’s current-voltage curve changes, and that change can be measured to indicate the glucose concentration.

Real-time brain feedback for anxiety disorders



fMRI-driven neurofeedback has been used in various contexts, but never applied to the treatment of anxiety.

Yale University researchers used fMRI to display the activity of the orbitofrontal cortex, a brain region just above the eyes, to subjects in real time.  Through a process of trial and error, the subjects learned to control their brain activity.  This neurofeedback led to changes in brain connectivity and increased control over anxiety.  The changes were still present several days after the exercise.

Flexible “skin” heart monitor


Stanford professor Zhenan Bao has developed a flexible, skin-like heart monitor, worn under an adhesive bandage on the wrist.  This non-invasive method could replace intravascular catheters, which create a high risk of infection, making them impractical for newborns and high-risk patients.  An external monitor could give doctors a safer way to gather information about the heart, especially during infant surgeries.  Bao’s team is working with other Stanford researchers to make the device completely wireless.