A Magic Wand to Connect Wearable Medical Devices

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Somewhere in the depths of Dartmouth College, a wand-like prototype is being developed that would allow physicians to keep a closer eye on their patients while easing both patients and doctors into the emerging world of monitored health care outside the hospital.

Imagine your doctor sends you home with a Wi-Fi enabled wearable device, and naturally you'd expect a lot of complicated effort connecting that device. Instead, you point the techno-wand, appropriately named Wanda (photo right), at the wearable piece of equipment, which then automatically prompts your device to connect to your home Wi-Fi.

“We set out to make something our parents and in-laws could use," said doctoral student and Wanda’s creator, Tim Pierson. 

Instead of manually connecting the medical device to the network, the wand gets plugged into a Wi-Fi router, and is then detached and ready to connect your device to Wi-Fi. Dartmouth's work is part of a larger National Science Foundation consortium known as Trustworthy Health & Wellness. — (Houston Chronicle)

Braces are Costly, So This Student 3-D Printed His Own

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Anyone who has worn braces probably didn’t pay for them, but almost everybody knows how expensive they can be. Amos Dudley, 24, bypassed the $8,000 asking price for a set of brand-name clear braces and instead used the 3-D printer at his school, New Jersey Institute of Technology, to create his own for $60.

Dudley used scanned and printed models of his teeth to mold plastic around them to form a set of 12 clear braces. He then used dental mathematics to design each alignment tray.

He’s been wearing the braces for 16 weeks now and has received many requests from others to print more, but isn’t interested because of liability issues. — (Fox News)

A Fitbit For Fighting Addiction

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We’ve seen how big an impact fitness trackers have made over the past couple of years, but now a team of physicians is using wearable biosensors to help patients with drug abuse.

The initial study was done in part by the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, a city struggling with the opioid epidemic. The five participants (four patients using morphine and one using recreational cocaine) involved in the pilot study wore an early version of the E4 wristband (see right) made by technology company Empatica.

Findings revealed unique data from each type of drug: Cocaine saw high movement, increase in electrical skin conductance and a decrease in skin temperature. Morphine saw increased skin temperature and less movement.

The goal for this, according to Stephanie Carreiro, who is involved in the study, is to predict a future relapse through physiological data — detecting stress— and GPS data to determine where a user is traveling and send a warning notification. — (IEEE Spectrum)

 

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The Battle Against Bad Breath

Everyone worries about bad breath at some point. Some so much that they turned to science to detect and fight the stench.

A new device using sound waves and piezoelectric crystals (pictured left) allows the user to blow into a tube where his or her breath is collected and the water vapor is frozen and removed. The leftover breath passes over the crystals and the remaining gases are examined. Researchers say this is quite accurate for detecting halitosis. (Existing technology for halitosis detection — the nose — ain't so bad at it either, but there are limits on how often it can be used and how well it measures variation in bad breath.)

Meanwhile, a Japanese dental training dummy, Hanako, can simulate oral and dental problems, such as bad breath. It serves as a life-like robot for dental students, and may help in the battle against bad breath. — (Huffington Post)