Sensors detect diabetic foot ulcers early

Two new sensor-based early detection tools for diabetic foot ulcers are being developed.

Orpyx Medical Technologies has developed a wristwatch and shoe insert.  An insole is designed to support the foot, with three separate foam layers. Eight tiny electronic sensors are packed in the top of the insole so that they rest against thesurface of the foot once the shoe has been put on. These sensors are programmed to detect when pressure exceeds predetermined levels at certain points of the foot that are most susceptible to ulcers. Once they do, they wirelessly transmit a warning to the watch, which immediately sounds an alert.

Cambridge based Podimetrics is developing a home-monitoring bath mat with sensors that record changes in blood flow patterns when a diabetic patient steps on the mat. The sensors scan the foot to collect data about blood flow and send the data to the cloud to be stored and analyzed. The company’s algorithms look at that data in two ways: longitudinally over time and comparatively between the left and right foot to detect patterns that may indicate the presence of a developing ulcer. When the algorithms detect a pre-ulcer, an alert is sent to the patient and his doctor prompting an intervention early on.

Sensor detects swallowing problems in stroke patients

 A small, external sensor developed at the University of Pittsburgh records how a person swallows and could result in more efficient and less invasive testing for stroke patients.

Dysphagia can have dire consequences like malnutrition, dehydration, pneumonia, and even death. Current evaluation and monitoring methods are often cumbersome and not as effective as they need to be.

Implantable chip analyzes blood and sends data to doctors

A multidisciplinary Swiss team has developed a tiny, implantable device that instantly analyses the blood before wirelessly sending the data to a doctor.

The device can be used for monitoring general health, but the team also sees immediate applications in monitoring the efficacy of treatments such as chemotherapy in order to tailor drug delivery to a patient’s unique needs.

Fujitsu facial imaging technology measures pulse

A Fujitsu research lab has developed software that can accurately measure a subject’s pulse using the small digital cameras attached to smartphones and tablets.

The technology is based on the fact that the brightness of an individual’s face changes slightly as their heart beats, due to their blood flow. Hemoglobin, which carries oxygen around the body, absorbs green light, so analyzing the change in color of parts of the face reveals their heart rate.

As most image sensors capture pixel information in red, blue and green, they have the ability to detect hemoglobin built in. Fujitsu’s technology keeps track of specific regions of the face over time to take pulse measurements.

A move toward aggregating health data from various devices and apps

It seems that every day a new app or device promising the ultimate in health or fitness monitoring enters the market.  A startup has created a personal analytics dashboard which gives people a big picture view of their own aggregated data and underlying patterns, helping them make sense of the numbers.

Ultra thin sensors printed on skin to monitor health

Eliminating the elastomer backing makes the device one-thirtieth as thick, and thus “more conformal to the kind of roughness that’s present naturally on the surface of the skin,” says John Rogers at the University of Illinois. It can be worn for up to two weeks and can measure temperature, strain, and the hydration state of the skin, and also be used to monitor wound healing.

Researchers explain the goals of a new brain-mapping project

A proposed effort to map brain activity on a large scale, expected to be announced by the White House later this month, could help neuroscientists understand the origins of cognition, perception, and other phenomena. These brain activities haven’t been well understood to date, in part because they arise from the interaction of large sets of neurons whose coordinated efforts scientists cannot currently track.

An article published Thursday in Science online expands the project’s already ambitious goals beyond just recording the activity of all individual neurons in a brain circuit simultaneously. Researchers should also  find ways to manipulate the neurons within those circuits and understand circuit function through new methods of data analysis and modeling.