Although flying cars and robot maids named Rosie may remain a fiction for tomorrow, you’ll be amazed at these five futuristic medical equipment innovations are already (or may soon be) on today’s market.
1. Cry if you want to, because Google has patented a contact lens that measures blood glucose levels from tears, potentially revolutionizing diabetes management. Although engineers considered adding LED lights to the contacts to light up as a warning to the wearer should glucose levels need attention, the potentially dangerous level of arsenic in LED caused the idea to be nixed. However, data would safely be transmitted from the contact lens to external devices. Although not yet approved by the FDA, human trials are expected to start this year for this equipment.
2. Triggerfish, another smart contact lens by the Swiss startup Sensimed was recently greenlighted by the FDA for the treatment of glaucoma. The microsensor embedded in the Triggerfish measures intraocular pressure changes (IOP) and wireless transmits the information to a portable data recorder, which can then be shared with a healthcare provider. The goal of the Triggerfish is to prevent damage to the optic nerve from an elevated pressure, a common way by which glaucoma causes eyesight loss.
3. If you keep losing your Fitbit, biometric tattoos such as VivaLNK’s Eskin Tattoo are a discrete means of transmitting medical information. The Eskin Tattoo is a soft, flexible (and yet durable) circuit that wireless monitors vital signs, alerts healthcare services of potential health issues and assists in athletic training.
4. A team at the Imperial College London created the I knife, a “smart” knife to improve cancer surgery. It is an unfortunate fact that surgical removal of cancers often fails to remove the entire tumor. And even a trace amount of cancer left behind increases the chance of recurrence. Therefore, accuracy during surgery is paramount to a patient’s prognosis. The I knife tests tissue as it cuts, instantly alerting the surgeon as to whether the tissue contains cancer cells.
5. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a serious contributing factor to death and disability and a somewhat recent focus of national attention. And with many schools and athletic programs are revamping their approaches to prevention and treatment of concussions, the EYE-SYNC virtual reality headset by Sync Think could become a standard assessment tool at the point of injury.
The EYE-SYNC headset is FDA approved virtual reality headset with built-in eye tracking that detects concussion, assess damage and test recovery.