“Artificial nerve” system for sensory prosthetics, robots

Stanford’s  Zhenan Bao has developed an artificial sensory nerve system that can activate the twitch reflex in a cockroach and identify letters in the Braille alphabet. Bao describes it as “a step toward making skin-like sensory neural networks for all sorts of applications”  which would include artificial skin that creates a sense of touch in prosthetics.

The artificial nerve circuit integrates three components:

  • A touch sensor that can detect minuscule forces.
  • A flexible electronic neuron which receives signals from the touch sensor.
  • An artificial synaptic transistor modeled after human synapses which is stimulated by theses sensory signals.

The system was successfully tested to generate both reflexes and a sense touch. The team  also hopes to create low-power, artificial sensor nets to cover robots, to provide feedback that makes them more agile.

Click to view Science video


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJuan EnriquezJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda

Join Apply Sci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22, 2019 at Stanford University.  Zhenan Bao will be the keynote speaker.

Body heat-powered, self-repairing health sensor system

Hossam Haick at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has developed a body heat powered, self-repairing system of sensors for disease detection and monitoring.

Unlike other wearables, the ability to derive energy from the wearer,  and to fix tears and scratches, prevents the need to turn off the device for repair or charging, allowing truly continuous tracking.


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJuan EnriquezJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum

Ingestible “bacteria on a chip” detects blood, inflammation

MIT’s Timothy Lu has developed an ingestible sensor with embedded genetically engineered bacteria to  diagnose bleeding or other gastrointestinal issues.

The “bacteria-on-a-chip” approach combines living cell sensors with ultra-low-power electronics that convert the bacterial response into a signal read by a phone.

The technology has only been tested in pigs, but shows promise in detecting gastrointestinal blood and inflammation. The researchers believe that the sensor will be able to be remain in the digestive tract for days or weeks, sending continuous signals.

Click to view MIT video


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJuan EnriquezJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum

Cheap, noninvasive patch monitors glucose

UCSD’s Joe Wang‘s needless adhesive glucose monitor has begun a phase I clinical trial.  The small patch measures insulin levels through sweat on the skin, eliminating the need for a skin prick.  The paper – tattoo is printed with two integrated electrodes that apply a small amount of electrical current.  Glucose molecules residing below the skin are forced to rise to the surface, allowing blood sugar to be measured.

Through its SENSOR study,  the team s testing the tattoo-like sensor’s accuracy, compared to a traditional glucometer. The  trial is enrolling 50 adults, ages 18 to 75, with type 1 or 2 diabetes, or diabetes due to other causes. Participants wear a sensor while fasting, and up to 2 hours after eating.

The goal is a cheap, noninvasive, discreet, user friendly glucose monitor that provides continuous measurement.  The sensor currently provides only one readout.


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJuan EnriquezJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum

Carla Pugh on hacking healthcare with sensors | ApplySci @ Stanford

Carla Pugh discussed hacking healthcare with sensors at ApplySci’s Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University:


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJuan EnriquezJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum

BP cuff + accelerometer detect early preeclampsia

Purdue’s Craig Goergen has developed a sensor-based supine pressor test to detect preeclampsia.

The technology measures and notes the difference between a pregnant woman’s diastolic blood pressure while in two different positions, using a BP wrist cuff and accelerometer on the stomach.

The two devices are connected to an app which guides the wearer, and ensures that the readings are taken in correct positions. Diastolic pressure differences are the definitive way to detect preecamplsia, which according to the researchers, can be seen and treated earlier with the simple system.

Click to view Purdue video


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJuan EnriquezJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum

Gait sensor could detect Alzheimer’s, identify fall risk

Newcastle University’s Lynn Rochester has studied the use of wearable sensors to identify walking characteristics as clinical biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease.  The same sensors can detect gait changes that require intervention to prevent falls and prolong independence.

According to Rochester, “free-living gait analysis at home is particularly useful as it allows objective observation of an individual’s day-to-day activity. It also has the benefit of providing continuous data over a prolonged time that may be more sensitive than one-off assessments.”

She believes that continuous walking sensors could make clinical trials more efficient, and support clinician decisions.


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24 2018 at the MIT Media Lab

Saliva-monitoring chip to track bone loss, diabetes, inflammatory markers

Washington University’s Erica Lynn Scheller and Shantanu Chakrabartty are developing a gum or dental device-worn sensor to detect early signs of  disease by analyzing saliva or gingival crevicular fluid.

The sensor plus electronic chip is a few millimeters-cube in volume and measures disease-specific peptides.  A wireless ultrasound device reads the peptide levels and connects to the cloud.

The first use will be monitoring  bone breakdown during periodontitis. The goal is to track multiple inflammatory and stress markers and to monitor diabetes.

Click to view Washington University video


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24 2018 at the MIT Media Lab

Muscle-force measuring wearable

University of Wisconsin’s Darryl Thelen and Jack Martin have developed a noninvasive approach to measuring tendon tension while a person is active.

Current wearables can measure movement, but not muscle force.

The technology provides insight into motor control and human movement mechanics, and can be applied in orthopedics, rehabilitation, ergonomics, and sports.

The device is mounted on skin over a tendon, lightly tapping it 50 times per second. Each tap initiates a wave in the tendon, and two miniature accelerometers determine how quickly it travels. This assesses  force via vibrational characteristics of the tendon change during loading.  Tensile stress is then measured.

It has been used to measure forces on the Achilles tendon, patellar and hamstring tendons. Changes were observed when  gait was modified, which can enable clinicians to optimize the treatment of musculoskeletal disease and injuries. It may also be useful to determine when a repaired tendon is  healed.


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab

DARPA’s Justin Sanchez on driving and reshaping biotechnology | ApplySci @ Stanford

DARPA Biological Technologies Office Director Dr. Justin Sanchez on driving and reshaping biotechnology.  Recorded at ApplySci’s Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University.


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 25, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab