Sensor glove identifies objects

In a Nature paper, the system accurately detected  objects, including a soda can, scissors, tennis ball, spoon, pen, and mug 76 percent of the time.

The tactile sensing sensors could be used in combination with traditional computer vision and image-based datasets to give robots a more human-like understanding of interacting with objects. The dataset also measured cooperation between regions of the hand during  interactions, which could be used to customize prosthetics.

Similar sensor-based gloves used cost thousands of dollars and typically 50 sensors. The  STAG  glove costs approximately $10 to produce.

Click to view MIT video


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Photonics for at-home disease detection

Hatice Altug and EPFL BIOS Laboratory colleagues are developing photonic chips that count individual biomolecules and determine their location.  This could identify trace amounts of undesirable biomarkers in blood or saliva and serve as an early-warning system for disease.

The technology consists of an ultra-thin and miniaturized optical chip that,  coupled with a standard CMOS camera and powered by image analysis. It is based on metasurfaces. At a certain frequency, these elements are able to squeeze light into extremely small volumes, creating ultrasensitive optical ‘hotspots’.

When light shines on the metasurface and hits a molecule at one of these hotspots, the molecule is detected immediately, changing the wavelength of the light that hits it. By using different colored lights on the metasurface and taking a photo with a CMOS camera, the researchers cn count the number of molecules in a sample, and learn exactly what is happening on the sensor chip. First author Filiz Yesilkoy said: “We then use smart data science tools to analyze the millions of CMOS pixels obtained through this process and identify trends. We’ve demonstrated that we can detect and image not just individual biomolecules at the hotspots, but even a single graphene sheet that’s only one atom thick.”

The team also developed a second, simpler, but less precise, version of the system, where the metasurfaces are programmed to resonate at different wavelengths in different regions.

According to Altug: “Light possesses many attributes – such as intensity, phase and polarization – and is capable of traversing space. This means that optical sensors could play a major role in addressing future challenges – particularly in personalized medicine.”


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School and the 13th Wearable Tech + Neurotech + Digital Health Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 at Stanford University

Glutamate sensor could predict migraines, monitor CNS drug effectiveness

Riyi Shi and Purdue colleagues have developed a tiny, spinal cord-implanted, 3D printed sensor that quickly and accurately tracks glutamate in spinal trauma and brain disease. The goal  is to monitor drug effectiveness, and predict migraine headaches in humans, although it has only been tested on animals.

Glutamate spikes are often missed.  Damaged nerve structures allow glutamate to leak into spaces outside of cells, over-exciting and damaging them. Brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, also show elevated levels of glutamate.

Devices to date have not been sensitive, fast, or affordable enough. Measuring levels in vivo would help researchers to study how spinal cord injuries happen, and  how brain diseases develop.

In a recent animal study, the device captured spikes immediately, vs current devices, where researchers must  to wait 30 minutes for data after damaging the spinal cord.

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Wireless, skin-like sensors monitor baby heart rate, respiration, temperature, blood pressure

John Rogers and Northwestern colleagues have developed soft, flexible, battery-free, wireless, skin-like sensors to replace multi wire-based sensors that currently monitor babies in hospitals’ neonatal intensive care units.  The goal is to enable more accurate monitoring, and unobstructed physical bonding.

The dual wireless sensors monitor heart rate, respiration rate and body temperature — from opposite ends of the body. One sensor lies across the chest or back, and the other wraps around a foot. This allows physicians to gather an infant’s core temperature as well as body temperature from a peripheral region.

Physicians also can measure blood pressure by continuously tracking when the pulse leaves the heart and arrives at the foot. Currently, there is not a good way to collect a reliable blood pressure measurement. A blood pressure cuff can bruise or damage an infant’s fragile skin. The other option is to insert a catheter into an artery, which is tricky because of the slight diameter of a premature newborn’s blood vessels. It also introduces a risk of infection, clotting and death.

The device also could help fill in information gaps that exist during skin-to-skin contact. The sensors also can be worn during X-rays, MRIs and CT scans.

Click to view Northwestern video

Artificial skin sensor could help burn victims “feel”

UConn chemists Islam Mosa and Professor James Rusling have developed a sensor that could detect pressure, temperature, and vibration when placed on skin.  

The sensor and silicone tube are wrapped in copper wire and filled with an  iron oxide nanoparticle fluid, which creates an electric current. The copper wire detects the current. When the tube experiences pressure, the nanoparticles move and electric signal changes.

Sound waves also create waves in the fluid, and the signal changes differently than when the tube is bumped.

Magnetic fields were found to alter the signal differently than from pressure or sound waves.  The team could distinguish between the signals caused by walking, running, jumping, and swimming.

The researcher’s goals are to  help burn victims “feel” again, and to provide  early warning for workers exposed to high magnetic fields. The waterproof sensor could also serve as a pool-depth monitoring wearable for children.


Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochVinod KhoslaWalter Greenleaf – Nathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi Emmanuel Mignot Michael Snyder Joe Wang – Josh Duyan – Aviad Hai Anne Andrews Tan Le – Anima Anandkumar – Pierrick Arnal – Shea Balish – Kareem Ayyad – Mehran Talebinejad – Liam Kaufman – Scott Barclay – Tracy Laabs – George Kouvas

Wireless,biodegradable, flexible arterial-pulse sensor monitors blood flow

Zhenan Bao and colleagues have developed a wireless, battery-free, biodegradable sensor to provide continuous monitoring of blood flow through an artery.  This could provide critical information to doctors after vascular, transplant, reconstructive and cardiac surgery, with out the need for a visit.

Monitoring the success of surgery on blood vessels is difficult, as by the time a problem is detected, additional surgery is usually required.  The goal of the sensor is much earlier intervention.

The sensor wraps  around the healing vessel, where blood pulsing past pushes on its inner surface. As the shape of that surface changes, it alters the sensor’s capacity to store electric charge, which doctors can detect remotely from a device located near the skin but outside the body. That device solicits a reading by pinging the antenna of the sensor, similar to an ID card scanner. In the future, this device could come in the form of a stick-on patch or be integrated into other technology, like a wearable device or smartphone.


Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochVinod KhoslaWalter Greenleaf – Nathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi Emmanuel Mignot Michael Snyder Joe Wang – Josh Duyan – Aviad Hai Anne Andrews Tan Le – Anima Anandkumar – Pierrick Arnal – Shea Balish – Kareem Ayyad – Mehran Talebinejad – Liam Kaufman – Scott Barclay – Tracy Laabs – George Kouvas

Wearable haptic feedback/stimulation band to address Parkinson’s symptoms

Microsoft has submitted a patent application for a wearable band that uses haptic feedback for stimulation when wrapped around limbs or joints.  It is meant to alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms, including tremors and muscle stiffness.

Haptic actuators are distributed across a band that is adjusted to a  “duty cycle” which responds to data derived from wearable sensors, including accelerometers, gyroscopes, heart-rate sensors, and electromyography sensors, as well as tablets or phones.

Examples include stylus sensors communicating with a wrist-worn device to detect involuntary motion while writing. The actuators would then be used to reduce the involuntary motion.  The wearable itself could also detect the motion of the actuators.

The patent describes stimulation “provided through the vibration of two or more actuators within the wearable device. In various examples, the wearable device may additionally comprise a second channel for the provision of therapeutic stimulation, such as an audio channel (e.g. the wearable device may additionally comprise a speaker or buzzer),”

The sensors could be integrated into a patch on a shoulder or other joint, or into clothing.


Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochVinod KhoslaWalter Greenleaf – Nathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi Emmanuel Mignot Michael Snyder Joe Wang – Josh Duyan – Aviad Hai Anne Andrews Tan Le – Anima Anandkumar – Hugo Mercier

3D-printed, bluetooth-controlled ingestible capsule delivers drugs, senses environment

MIT’s Bob Langer and Giovanni Traverso have developed a 3D-printed, wirelessly-controlled, ingestible capsule that can  deliver drugs, sense environmental conditions, or both.  It can reside in the stomach for a month.  Data is sent to a user’s phone, and instructions from the phone are sent to the device.  The sensor could also communicate with other wearable and implantable devices, and send the combined data to a doctor.

The technology could improve drug delivery in conditions where drugs must be taken over a long period.  It can also sense infections, allergic reactions, or other events, and then release a drug accordingly.


Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochVinod KhoslaWalter Greenleaf – Nathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi Emmanuel Mignot Michael Snyder Joe Wang – Josh Duyan – Aviad Hai Anne Andrews Tan Le – Anima Anandkumar – Hugo Mercier

Sensor patch monitors blood oxygen levels anywhere in the body

Ana Claudia Arias and Berkeley colleagues have developed a flexible, adhesive sensor that maps blood-oxygen levels over large areas of skin, tissue and organs, making it possible to monitor wound healing in real time, or oxygen levels in transplanted organs. It can also be used to continuously monitor blood oxygen levels in diabetes, respiration diseases and  sleep apnea.

The device is made of an array of alternating red and near-infrared organic LEDs and organic photodiodes, printed on bendable plastic that molds to the the body. Unlike fingertip oximeters, which measure oxygen levels at a single point, it can detect blood-oxygen levels at nine points in a grid and can be placed anywhere on the skin.


Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochVinod KhoslaWalter Greenleaf – Nathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi Emmanuel Mignot Michael Snyder Joe Wang – Josh Duyan – Aviad Hai Anne Andrews Tan Le

Wearable sensor monitors shunt function in hydrocephalus

Northwestern’s John Rogers has created another minimal, flexible, wireless, adhesive wearable — this time to help hydrocephalus patients manage their condition.

The band-aid like sensor determines whether a shunt is working properly.

Shunts often fail.  When this happens, a patient can experience headaches, nausea and low energy, and must go to a hospital immediately.  However, a patient can have similar symptoms with a properly working shunt. The wearable determines, in five minutes, if the shunt is functioning, and if it is, a patient could avoid a hospital visit, CT, MRI, and potential surgery to determine the shunt’s functionality.

Click to view Northwestern University video


Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochVinod KhoslaWalter Greenleaf – Nathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi Emmanuel Mignot Michael Snyder Joe Wang – Josh Duyan – Aviad Hai Anne Andrews Tan Le