Professor Todd Coleman of UCSD is developing foldable, stretchable electrode arrays that can non-invasively measure neural signals. They can also provide more in-depth analysis by including thermal sensors to monitor skin temperature and light detectors to analyze blood oxygen levels. The device is powered by micro solar panels and uses antennae to wirelessly transmit or receive data. Professor Coleman wants to use the device on premature babies to monitor their mental state and detect the onset of seizures that can lead to brain development problems such as epilepsy.
The EPSRC is funding technologies in three health areas:
1. Medical Imaging. Projects include technology which could:
-lead to better diagnosis and treatment for epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, depression, dementia as well as breast cancers and osteoporosis
-reduce risks during brain surgery by creating ultrasound devices in needles
-improve therapies for brain injured patients and help severely disabled people interact with the world around them
2. Acute Treatment Technology. Projects include:
-a multiphoton scanner and a multiphoton endoscope to collect images of tissue at depth and sub-cellular level, allowing immediate diagnosis during surgery
-ultrasonic bone-penetrating needles to deliver drugs and obtain biopsies in bone
-laser spectroscopy to quickly analyze tissue in cancer patient
-a pulsed laser system to restore tooth enamel
3. Assistive Technology and Rehabilitation. Projects aim to:
-improve prosthetics, hearing aids, and develop a wearable material to support healing muscles or create an exoskeleton.