5 Amazing Tech Advances in Healthcare

In the healthcare industry, innovation is more than a buzzword. The right innovations in the right hands at the right time can, in fact, ensure life triumphs over death. From high-tech sensors and drones to bacteria-quashing light bulbs, technological advances are pushing healthcare into new, exciting directions, providing heightened levels of care and improving quality of life.

Consider these promising developments:

1. Ingestible Sensors

While wearable sensors continue to gain mainstream appeal, ingestible sensors could have a sizeable impact on healthcare and digital medicine.

Health systems are starting to implement ingestible sensors in patients to record medication adherence, which is one of the key components of improved health.1 The sensor—powered by gastric fluids and about the size of a grain of sand—communicates with a skin patch, which captures the medication and the time it was ingested along with personalized data such as heart rate, activity, and rest. This information is then relayed to a mobile app, where the data can be shared with healthcare professionals to help drive medication compliance and personalized treatment.

2. Telehealth

For individuals in remote locations or underserved communities, easy access to healthcare providers can be scarce or nonexistent. However, continued advances in telehealth are making remote point-of-care more accessible, more dynamic, and more personable than ever. Telehealth services, for example, offer video conferencing for live consultations, built-in dashboards for in-field data capture and analysis, and hardware to ensure orderly, coherent interaction between patients and healthcare providers.

3. Drones

While drones are known for delivering frozen yogurt and burritos, their most meaningful impact could come in the healthcare space. Consider these very real possibilities:

  • In remote areas, drones can deliver critical medical supplies such as blood or vaccines to enable treatment.
  • Following a natural disaster, drones can distribute in-demand medical supplies to first responders or victims.
  • On a medical campus, drones can transport medicine, blood, lab samples, or even organs from one unit to another to expedite care.
  • A researcher at the University of Illinois, meanwhile, aims to help elderly patients age in place by testing the use of small drones with manipulator arms to complete simple daily tasks such as bringing medication or cleaning a spill.2

4. Bacteria-killing Light

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are the most frequent adverse event in healthcare delivery worldwide.3 Tech innovation is minimizing this problem.

Light fixtures providing continuous environmental disinfection technology are helping hospitals improve their infection-prevention efforts. One solution uses safe, 405nm visible light that reflects off walls as well as hard and soft surfaces to penetrate harmful bacteria in a given area and reduce bacteria up to 70 percent.4

5. Remote Patient Monitoring

With remote monitoring programs, digital technologies collect key patient health data such as vital signs, heart rate, and blood pressure, and communicate the information to healthcare professionals.

With such key data in professionals’ hands, health problems can be detected earlier, which can reduce hospitalizations and prevent manageable problems from becoming more severe ailments. Remote monitoring can improve patient outcomes and access to care, while also reducing costs—a key concern among the U.S. populace and healthcare systems alike.

 

 

Source: HP

[1] Forbes, Barton Health First To Offer New Digital Medicine Developed By Proteus Digital Health
[2] Inside Unmanned Systems, Drones Deliver Healthcare
[3] World Health Organization, Health Care-Associated Infections Fact Sheet
[4] Kenosha News, Bacteria-killing lights show promise

 

Google Might Have Drones Deliver Packages to Robots on Wheels

Provided by The Verge

We haven’t heard too much from Google’s Project Wing, the company’s drone delivery project, but a patent filing first reported by Fast Company todaysuggests the team is hard at work figuring out to get a fleet of robots to work together to automate package drop offs. The patent, filed in October 2014 and granted just yesterday, describes a system by which an aerial drone would communicate with a robotic “mobile delivery receptacle” — a box with wheels — so a package could be delivered in a safe location and then ferried to a secure drop off point.

The box would use infrared to flag down the drone to receive the package and would most likely contain a locking mechanism to prevent people from snatching objects before they’re brought to the holding location. The secure spot could be a public pickup point perhaps similar to an Amazon Locker, a place for local delivery companies to grab packages and bring them to your door, or somewhere on a private residence like a garage. Google says this should alleviate concerns such as the drone injuring pets and destroying property or the package being stolen from someone’s porch. “Conventional aerial delivery methods do not allow for safe, secure delivery of packages to delivery locations,” the patent explains.

Aerial drones working together with robot boxes on wheels

Although it’s just a patent, this potential delivery strategy marks Google’s most concrete outline of a drone-based delivery network to date. Project Wing head Dave Vos told said in October his team wanted to launch the service in 2017, which is an ambitious time frame putting Wing head to head with Amazon’s own Prime Air drone delivery project. Of course, Google has a handful of robotics companies at its disposal after a series of secretive acquisitions in 2013, so it’s not outside the company’s wheelhouse to try and pair grounded robots with ones in the sky.

Written by Nick Statt of The Verge

(Source: The Verge)

Chinese Drone Maker Unveils Human-Carrying Drone

Drone
AP Photo/John Locher

LAS VEGAS — Chinese drone maker Ehang Inc. on Wednesday unveiled what it calls the world’s first drone capable of carrying a human passenger.

The Guangzhou, China-based company pulled the cloth off the Ehang 184 at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the CES gadget show. In a company video showing it flying, it looks like a small helicopter but with four doubled propellers spinning parallel to the ground like other drones.

The electric-powered drone can be fully charged in two hours, carry up to 220 pounds and fly for 23 minutes at sea level, according to Ehang. The cabin fits one person and a small backpack and even has air conditioning and a reading light. With propellers folded up, it’s designed to fit in a single parking spot.

After setting a flight plan, passengers only need to give two commands, “take off” and “land,” each controlled by a single click on a Microsoft Surface tablet, the company said.

It is designed to fly about 1,000 to 1,650 feet off the ground with a maximum altitude of 11,500 feet and top speed of 63 miles per hour.

U.S. authorities are just starting to lay out guidelines for drone use, and a human-passenger drone seems certain to face strict scrutiny.

Federal Aviation Administration administrator Michael Huerta was at CES but could not immediately be reached for comment through a spokesman.

Ehang co-founder and Chief Financial Officer Shang Hsiao said the company hopes to sell the device for $200,000 to $300,000 beginning this year but acknowledged it occupies a legal “grey area.”

“The whole world never had something like this before,” he said.

A passenger would have no controls as a backup, he said. In the event of a problem the company plans a remote control center that would take over the vehicle and ensure it lands safely, he said.

Chief Marketing Officer Derrick Xiong said the vehicle has been flown more than 100 times at low altitudes in a forested area in Guangzhou, including several times with a person inside.

One thing that makes quad-copters safer than helicopters are its numerous propellers, Xiong said. Even if three of the four arms have their six propellers disabled, the final arm’s working propellers can ensure a rough landing by spiraling toward the ground, he said.

The company, which also makes smaller drones, said in August it had raised $42 million in capital from various investors including GP Capital, GGV Capital, ZhenFund and others, following $10 million in capital raised the previous year.

Written by Ryan Nakashima of Associated Press

(Source: MSN)

Coming Soon: Drones That Can See in the Dark

The DJI Zenmuse X5 thermal drone lens will ship in early 2016
Provided by Re/Code

Drone maker DJI on Thursday said it is working with Flir, the leading maker of thermal imaging sensors, to create a new drone camera that can shoot in complete darkness.

The camera, known as the Zenmuse X5, will be available in the first quarter of next year. It could be especially useful for firefighters and first responders who need to see in the dark or through smoke.

DJI said it will announce pricing closer to launch, but the technology is clearly aimed at professional uses rather than the consumer market.

So how big is the market for a drone that can see in the dark?

“It’s a large niche, let’s put it that way,” said Colin Snow, CEO of Drone Analyst, a research and advisory firm. “Think of how many firehouses there are in the United States.”

Other uses include agriculture, to monitor plant health and pest invasions, as well as industrial uses, such as detecting problems in electric grids or solar panels.

“It can see things that the human eye doesn’t see,” Snow said. “That presents a bunch of industrial applications, not just first responders.”

While there have been plenty of thermal cameras in the past, as well as photo-capable drones, this is the first time the two have been integrated. For about the past year, Snow said, some people have been hacking together solutions by attaching thermal cameras to existing drones.

DJI has become best known for getting a bird’s eye view of things, like we did at CeBit last year. But it’s also attracted interest for a wide range of commercial uses,i from agriculture to industry to first responders.

Written by Ina Fried of Re/Code

(Source: Re/Code)