Talk from the heart: a wireless cellphone EKG
One wireless patch, a cellphone and you can get your own electrocardiogram reading wherever you are. Invented by student Catherine Wong, aged just 17, the prototype amplifies the tiny electrical pulses created by the heartbeat and sends the data to your cell. The device could be useful for people in developing countries who may not have access to a clinic but who do have cellphones. Or to send vital heart rate information on ahead to a hospital before the heart attack patient arrives.
“It connects patients to doctors so anyone, anywhere can get the healthcare that they need,” says Wong.
DIY dialysis: an at-home machine for kidney patients
When she discovered that 90% of patients living in India and Pakistan cannot afford life-saving dialysis, teenager Anya Pogharian invented a DIY version. For kidney patients, dialysis is the life-saving yet time-consuming procedure that requires them to go into hospital. Not only can Pogharian’s prototype be used at home but it’s also considerably cheaper.
“A typical dialysis machine costs $30,000 and the value of my high school science project is $500,” she explains.
Robot hugs: A huggable robot for sick children in hospital
When children are ill, being in a strange hospital surrounded by strangers adds to an already stressful time. Since human resources are stretched, huggable robots may have a role to play in helping sick children through recovery. Working at MIT’s Personal Robots Group, research specialist Sooyeon Jeong is running a clinical research study at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her research has found behavioral differences between healthy and sick children during child-robot interaction. Children who are ill really seem to benefit from the robot’s company. The two children with medical conditions showed more caring behaviors to the robot - Huggable than the two healthy children did. And ill children responded with greater emotion when playtime with Huggable was over.
Food test: A handheld scanner to analyze your plate
For people with diabetes or gluten intolerance, eating out is anything but a pleasure. Tellspec could change that. The handheld sensor scans food using spectroscopy, a near infrared way of collecting digital electronic signals. A beam of light is focused into the food and its reflection collected back. This light is then dispersed onto a micro-mirror device, and measured by an optimized detection system. The data is analysed by the company’s database and a breakdown sent to your phone. Sounds complex, but that process takes about 3 seconds. The technology makes the level of analysis previously only available in a lab possible with just a scanner and a phone. Still in development, Tellspec’s co-founder Isabel Hoffmann is an entrepreneur who’s founded eight technology companies and received numerous awards including Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Quantified self: Jewelry that truly makes you feel better
While the number of wearable devices in the domain of quantified self has exploded over the past couple of years, the design of the gold-plated Leaf stands out. At first glance just a beautiful piece of jewelry, the Leaf is a sleep, activity, breathing and ovulation tracker. It monitors stress levels by measuring breath when worn as a necklace, then cross-references the data with stress level entries input into the app to establish how breathing correlates with stress. While monitoring sleep patterns, the menstrual cycle and ovulation days. Urška Sršen, co-founder of Bellabeat, the company which created Leaf, sees the smart jewelery as a tool to “stay healthy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
Is connected health benefitting you in any way? Let us know @4womeninscience!