Innovation is a wonderful phenomenon. It leads to different amazing products and services like Internet, your personal computer, solar panels or new medicines. So, what is an innovation and what is great about it?
An innovation is designed to apply better solutions to a recognized need or challenges with relevant technology. It genuinely improves the life of its end-users.
As 2013 is drawing to an end, we chose some of our favourite health-tech innovations of the year – to build a healthier world.
The Artificial Pancreas
It’s the first device approved by the FDA that detects dropping sugar levels and shuts off regular insulin delivery for Type 1 diabetics, just like a real pancreas. The artificial pancreas could replace the daily routine of pricking one’s finger to test blood sugar levels and injecting insulin – a process that many diabetics undergo several times a day.
The Atlas Robot
The Atlas robot is intended to imitate human rescuers in disaster response and emergency recovery and able to perform search tasks in difficult conditions. Articulated, sensate hands will enable Atlas to use tools designed for human use. Atlas includes 28 hydraulically-actuated degrees of freedom, two hands, arms, legs, feet and a torso.
Bee Venom Nanoparticles Attack HIV
A toxin isolated from bee venom is able to poke holes in the protective coating of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. When attached to nanoparticles with a special bumper, the toxin can kill the virus, while leaving healthy human cells intact.
Detecting Lung Cancer with Just a Cough
A system that identifies cancer cells by their physical characteristics could allow doctors to detect lung cancer more quickly. A non-invasive method currently being tested could one day allow doctors to detect lung cancer using just a sample of sputum coughed up at the clinic. “The impact of screening for lung cancer with a non-invasive, low-cost test that detects the early stages could have a significant life-saving benefit,” says Alan Nelson, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO of VisionGate, Inc., the company that developed the new test.
Edible Password Pill
Having troubles remembering your Gmail password? This one may be for you. Swallowed once daily, the pill consists of a tiny chip that uses the acid in your stomach to power it. Once activated, it emits a specific signal that can be detected by your phone or computer, essentially turning your body into a password.
The Argus II
This is the first device that can restore partial vision to those who have severe retinitis pigmentosa, which can lead to blindness. The Argus II consists of an implanted artificial retina and a pair of glasses attached to a video unit. With electrical stimulation to theh retina, it enables the patient to see outlines of images and the contrast between light and dark. Patients learn to interpret these visual patterns with their retinal implant.
Exoskeleton technology and freedom for paraplegics. This innovative device, developed by a quadriplegic Israeli scientist, relies on sensors that anticipate shifts in the user’s balance and translates them into movements. ReWalk controls movement using subtle changes in center of gravity, mimics natural steps and provides functional walking speed.
What to look forward to in 2014
Dr. Thomas Graham, chief innovation officer, said the following list reflects some new and unapproved medical treatments and some devices and treatments in the works for a decade or more that have only recently become poised to make a significant difference in patient care. For example, a way of analysing the genetic changes in individual tumors to prescribe precision treatments for each patient that will help reduce the use of unnecessary medical procedures and medications, and help save lives. Read more.
- Innovation Union Scoreboard in the EU
- Tech Billionaires Spend Millions on ‘Science Oscars’
- Experts say the time is now to invest in healthcare innovation