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Health and Wellbeing

October 3, 2006 Walking is a dynamic process, so it might come as a shock to realise that up to now the function of artificial knee joints has been analysed using static images of extended and bent knees. However, these were scarcely able to explain why certain patients’ prostheses were painful again and again. This is a big problem, because about one million artificial knees are implanted each year, 40,000 of them in Switzerland. The situation led researchers at the Institute for Biomechanics to analyse the problem in more detail and a mobile X-ray unit was developed that allows the knee to be x-rayed during normal walking. The purpose of the equipment is to help understand how an implanted artificial knee joint behaves during the everyday movement of walking. Read More
October 2, 2006 One wonders what super powers our mobile phones might have a decade from now given the plethora of sensing technologies, miniaturisation and functionality being planned by various companies. Cell-phone-sensor technologies specialist Gentag’s latest patent (7,109,859) for a "Method and Apparatus for Wide Area Surveillance of a Terrorist or Personal Threat" certainly indicates that it won’t be long before our cell phones will be monitoring the air we breathe and alerting us if there’s something we should know regarding allergens, contaminants or harmful bacteria. Gentag also holds patents for the use of RFID readers incorporated into cell phones, which will provide consumers with innovations like smart skin patches to detect health conditions and smart food labels to help consumers to determine the freshness of produce and meat. Gentag also a cell phone with a UV sensor built-in (pictured). Read More
October 2, 2006 Singapore scientists have developed nanoparticles that can carry both small molecular anticancer drugs and nucleic acids simultaneously for improved cancer therapy. The uniqueness of the new technology from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) lies in the design of a special biodegradable carrier (cationic core-shell nanoparticle), which can enclose drug molecules and allow therapeutic nucleic acids to bind onto it. It can efficiently introduce DNA into a cell to be incorporated into its genetic make-up, i.e. induce high gene expression level, especially in both human and mouse breast cancer cell lines, and mouse breast cancer model. The co-delivery of small molecular drugs with nucleic acids can improve gene transfection efficiency, reduce side-effects of these drugs, and achieve the synergistic effect of drug and gene therapy for the more effective treatment of cancer. Read More
September 28, 2006 Intel has unveiled a mobile point-of-care platform designed specifically to address the needs of nurses and physicians working on the front line of patient care. The mobile clinical assistant platform is the outcome of hospital workflow studies, nurse and physician interviews, and ethnographic research among nurses at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California. It focuses on the healthcare community’s needs to enhance patient safety, reduce medication-dispensing errors and ease staff workloads. Products based on the mobile clinical assistant platform could offer a variety of features and technologies including: an exterior casing that can be wiped clean with disinfectant; radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for rapid user and patient identification; and barcode scanning to help reduce medication-dispensing errors. Read More
September 23, 2006 The boom in intelligent packaging looks set to blossom over the coming years, with recent announcements such as the Programmable Liquid Container, printed electronics, fruit labels that can indicate the ripeness of their contents, Power Plastics to provide electrical power and manufacturing breakthroughs such as Siemens disposable video display and Cypak’s disposable paperboard computer. Now another capability has been incorporated into packaging – a time-keeping mechanism for time-sensitive products to facilitate precise product performance. Designed primarily for use in cosmetic packaging, the timeing system is designed for hair dyes, facial masks, facial hair bleaching, hair removal creams and face peels. The design enables existing packaging to be easily retrofitted with the timers, which are preprogrammed not just to ensure correct usage, but also to beep at you when you open the cosmetics cabinet a month or two down the track when it’s time for the next treatment. Read More
September 21, 2006 As the Digital Age progresses, technology will be available to create masterpieces of all types, and high fashion will find itself with magical new abilities. A garment no longer need be made of earthly materials and can now become a highly complex interactive electronic device, or a biochemical machine responsive to subtle triggers like sensuality, affection and sensation. The SKIN fashion range of dynamic garments developed by the far-future research program at Philips Design came from ongoing research into emerging trends and societal shifts in the area of 'emotional sensing' and demonstrate several possibilities in the way electronics can be incorporated into fabrics and garments to express the emotions and personality of the wearer. The marvellously intricate wearable prototypes include 'Bubelle', a dress surrounded by a delicate 'bubble' illuminated by patterns that changed dependent on skin contact- and 'Frison', a body suit that reacts to being blown on by igniting a private constellation of tiny LEDs. The SKIN research project challenges the notion that our lives are automatically better because they are more digital. It looks at more 'analog' phenomena like emotional sensing and explores technologies that are 'sensitive' rather than 'intelligent'. An extraordinary image gallery with this story. Read More
September 15, 2006 The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), demonstrated its remarkable engineering and rehabilitation science know-how earlier this week by introducing Claudia Mitchell, the first woman to be successfully fitted with RIC’s Bionic Arm technology. The most advanced prosthesis of its kind, the RIC neuro-controlled Bionic Arm allows an amputee to move his or her prosthetic arm as if it is a real limb simply by thinking. The arm also empowers patients with more natural movement, greater range of motion and restores lost function. Using key learnings from the first successful Bionic Arm recipient, former power lineman and double amputee from Tennessee, Jesse Sullivan, RIC’s Bionic Arm initiative leader Dr. Kuiken and his team also have made significant advancements in the area of sensory feedback so that the patient can actually feel if they are touching hot or cold objects. We have excellent pictures and copies of Dr. Kuiken’s presentation to the media available in the image gallery. That's Claudia at top right in the main pic, the bionic arm bottom right, the nerve ending connections at top left and Dr. Kuiken and the first Bionic Man, Jesse Sullivan at bottom left. Read More
September 12, 2006 The human body is roughly two thirds water, and if we lose just one percent of that water, we get thirsty. Lose more than one percent and things start going quickly wrong, with fatigue and impaired physical performance resulting, though most of us don’t recognise the symptoms as hydration related. Doctors, nutritionists and fitness trainers invariably recommend that we drink more water yet keeping track of the fluids we drink is problematic. Most individuals find it difficult to simply remember to drink fluids on a regular basis, let alone calculate and track their daily intake. HydraCoach hydration monitors are capable of all this and more, allowing users to develop and easily adhere to customized fluid intake plans. The HydraCoach hydration monitor is a small electronic device comprising a low pressure, low volume, liquid flow sensing mechanism linked to an interactive display module. When the unit is inserted between a hydration source and its drinking port, a complete system is created that provides an accurate measurement of fluid intake for proper hydration. There’s also an intelligent HydraCoach water bottle which tracks and calculates your personal hydration needs, tracks your real-time fluid consumption, paces you throughout the day and motivates you to achieve and maintain optimal hydration. Just in case you figure that proper hydration is only for athletes, it’s also imperative for full brain function, people trying to lose weight, the elderly and individuals on medication. The Hydracoach Intelligent Waterbottle will cost just US$30 when it hits the shelves in December. Read More
September 5, 2006 Man has been making wine for more than 10,000 years but never has it been this easy. The WinePod is a new domestic device for artisan winemaking – a US$2000 micro winery just being readied for launch and seeking international distributors and we see this as a winner because it is just sooooo sophisticated. The insulated, self-cleaning, fully computerised, three foot tall, metallic urn-shaped appliance includes everything required to make 75 litres of the wine of your choice and is above all, easy to use. It wirelessly connects to your PC/Mac, which monitors Brix, pH and temperature to keep things happening exactly as they should and the WineCoach software mentors you through the wine-making process to obtain the best results for the particular variety of grapes you choose. Wine Coach enables you to collaborate with professional winemakers who are dedicated to the different wine types so you can learn the fine art of winemaking from your own personal consulting enologist. The software also enables you to compare notes and interact with fellow wine enthusiasts using the system and it can all be self-contained in an apartment or in a cupboard with the obvious rewards that the final product will bring. The waiting list already runs to April 2007 but a few orders might prompt an increase in production and we’re very bullish about the prospects for this baby. Read More
September 2, 2006 In a society obsessed with anti-aging, it seems somehow appropriate that Olay's new Definity anti-aging line should be a sponsor of the TV Guide After Party for the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, where several of the presenters were so pumped full of botox that they could have been mistaken for hand-puppets. At the afterparty, Olay Definity hosted a where the Olay Defini-tini, a signature drink was served exclusively. Inspired by Olay's new anti-aging line, Definity, which tackles the signs of aging beyond fine lines and wrinkles by addressing even skin tone and luminosity, the Defini-tini is a glowing cocktail created by celebrity mixologist and 2004 International Bartender of the Year, Alex Ott. Attempts to find out what made the cocktails luminous have not drawn a response but we don know they came in two flavours - Pear and Luscious Lemonade. Read More
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