Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Medical Monitoring Quick Takes

This month, we found not one, not two, but three medical monitoring stories that are perfect to share with you. There’s a little bit of cute, a little bit of serious, and BigFoot (you’ll have to read on to find out). Equipment like our alarms have ties to the medical industry, and it’s important to us that we can play some role, however comparatively minor, in affecting people’s lives.

Without further ado, we’ll get that BigFoot story out of the way. No hairy apes here, but rather a catchy name for innovative software that can play a huge role for people with chronic foot pain. All that’s needed is the downloadable program, and a regular flatbed scanner. Through scanning the foot, the software can detect any visual anomalies on the bottom of the foot that may signal complications from, especially, diabetes. Problems with the feet can often lead to problems elsewhere in the body, so this program is an important first step.

Researchers have developed a medical monitoring chip that’s disposable and can fit on a bandage, allowing for easier long-term monitoring of things like pulse, heart rate, perspiration, and temperature. Imagine wearing something the size of a postage stamp for a month, and ending up with unprecedented data about how your body operates. The health implications are quite major, for everyone from dementia patients to those trying to lose weight. Aside from that, however, perhaps the best part is how it’s powered: via the tiny amounts of RF frequency emitted by your cell phone.

We’ve saved “cute” for last. Very few adults like wearing medical monitors or electrodes for tests or other monitoring, especially for any long period of time. For kids, it’s just about unimaginable. One person hopes to change that with this smiley-face sensor/monitor that’s actually applied like a temporary tattoo, albeit one with electrodes in it. Beyond just a fun appearance, the tiny size and strong adhesion from the design keep the monitors in place – a breakthrough on its own, and relevant to all patients, not just kids.