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Initial prototypes of the 'blood pressure watch' with the strap made from piezo-resistive ...

Blood pressure is one of the main vital signs, measuring the pressure of the blood upon the walls of blood vessels as it is pumped around the body by the heart. High blood pressure, or hypertension, places increased stress on the heart and can be an indicator of other potentially fatal health problems, such as stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. Most people will have had their blood pressure tested using a sphygmomanometer on a visit to the doctor, but a new wristband device is set to provide a more convenient and continuous way to keep a watch for signs of trouble.  Read More

A normal nerve cell, with the myelin (brown) intact (Image: Shutterstock)

In multiple sclerosis, the body’s immune system attacks and damages myelin, which is the insulating layer on nerves in the spinal cord, brain and optic nerve. Just as would happen with an electrical cord with compromised insulation, this causes the nerves to short-circuit and cease functioning properly. An international team of scientists, however, have recently reported success in the first phase of clinical trials in which MS victims’ immune systems were conditioned to become much more tolerant of myelin.  Read More

The Personal Audio Enhancer (PAE-300) from VitaSound

VitaSound has launched a multi-functional audio enhancement device for those who suffer from situational hearing difficulties. The PAE-300 has been designed for folks who don't need a hearing aid, but could do with some help when trying to hold a conversation in a noisy room, or watch television without needing to crank up the volume. It's powered by the intriguing Neuro-Compensator technology, that's said to enforce an optimal electrical signal from the root of the auditory nerve to the brain, resulting in improved audio clarity and a natural listening experience. Gizmag has been sent one for review, but, since my hearing is pretty good, I've recruited my father-in-law, Jean-Jacques, as primary device tester.  Read More

The Standing Task Chair is designed to take the pressure off while you use a standing desk

There has been a trend of late towards standing desks, borne out of the very real notion that sitting down for long periods of time is bad for your health. The problem is that standing desks don't suit everyone, and can in fact cause bad backs, sore feet, and varicose veins if not used correctly. One solution may be to aim for somewhere betwixt sitting and standing, which is where the Standing Task Chair may prove its worth.  Read More

An optofluidic chip uses fluorescence to detect virus particles

To monitor their infection levels, people carrying chronic viral infections such as hepatitis and HIV need to get their viral load regularly checked. This measures how many viruses are present in a certain volume of blood or bodily fluid with current tests being expensive and needing to be done through laboratories. However, newly developed optical techniques being developed by two independent teams at the University of California could deliver cheaper and faster viral load tests that could be carried out in a medical office, hospital or even in the field.  Read More

OrCam's camera device, attached to a pair of glasses by a small magnet (Photo: OrCam)

The OrCam is a small camera linked to a very powerful wearable computer. It sees what you see and through your finger-pointing understands what information you seek, relaying auditory feedback through a bone conduction earpiece. Using an intuitive user interface, the device can read text, recognize faces, identify objects and places, locate bus numbers and even monitor traffic lights.  Read More

The intelligentM bracelet monitors the hand-washing activities of healthcare workers, to m...

Although it may be surprising to hear that being in the hospital can make a person sick, it definitely does happen. In the United States, about one in every 20 people admitted to a hospital will end up with a healthcare acquired infection, or HAI. Of those people, approximately 100,000 die from such infections annually. One of the keys to reducing the occurrence of HAIs is to get healthcare workers to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly – which is just what the intelligentM bracelet is designed to do.  Read More

The AMES device, which has just received FDA approval

Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration granted clearance to a new device that could be of considerable aid to stroke victims or people with partial spinal cord injuries. Created by Dr. Paul Cordo of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in collaboration with OHSU spinoff company AMES, the "AMES device" reportedly helps the brain get paralyzed muscles moving again.  Read More

Artist’s concept of a flat interface nerve electrode (FINE)

Artificial limbs have come a long way in recent years with the development of prostheses that can be controlled directly by the patient’s nerves. The problem is, links between living nerves and the prostheses break down over time, which makes permanent attachment and practical control difficult. To understand why this happens and to help give patients more control over their prostheses, DARPA has instituted a number of programs aimed at improving neural interfaces and allowing amputees to have better control of advanced prostheses in the near term.  Read More

SimSensei is a virtual human platform being developed by ICT for use as a virtual therapis...

Researchers at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Sciences (ICT) are developing a virtual therapist that can identify signs of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Bringing together machine learning, natural language processing and computer vision technologies, the SimSensei project is aimed at helping military personnel and their families, while reducing the stigma that is often associated with seeking help.  Read More

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