Tuesday, September 14, 2010

3D printing goes mainstream ...beyond rapid-prototyping

3D printing has advanced from being a prototyping tool for designers to a manufacturing implement to make a variety of different objects like prosthetics, medical devices and even houses! Excellent article in today's New York Times about the varied applications and players involved in this exciting new arena.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Geographic Epidemiology with mobile phones and GPS

Terrific piece in today's New York Times on a project to assess the impact of roads and traffic on wildlife. Dr. Ron Ringen, a retired veterinarian has been mapping roadkill on a stretch of highway near his home - he photographs the roadkill and uses GPS coordinates to overlay markers on a Google Map thereby generating a visually rich, real-time display. The project is now growing by leaps and bounds and attracting the attention of government regulatory authorities, insurance companies and environmental groups.

Can you imagine if John Snow had this technology in 1854 ...how long would it have taken him to trace cholera to that contaminated pump on Broad Street ...!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

MIT introduces NETRA: eye exam on a phone

MIT News reports on a new Media Lab technology that could revolutionize the way eye tests are done in the developing world.

from the news site:
Now, a team at MIT's Media Lab has come up with a much quicker, simpler and cheaper way to get the same information — a method that is especially suitable for remote, developing-world locations that lack these expensive systems. Two billion people have refractive errors, and according to the World Health Organization, uncorrected refractive errors are the world's second-highest cause of blindness, affecting some 2 percent of the world's population; all these people are potential beneficiaries of the new system. The team is preparing to conduct clinical trials, but preliminary testing with about 20 people, and objective tests using camera lenses, have shown that it can achieve results comparable to the standard aberrometer test.

I think is representative of what is really going to make mobile health tick: mobile medical peripherals. We've seen this concept work before: mobile glucometers, stethoscopes, and telemedical setups like ClickDisgnostics.

MIT News:
The team will be field-testing the device in the Boston area this summer and will later test it in developing countries. The team already has applied for a patent on the system, named NETRA (Near-Eye Tool for Refractive Assessment), and team members won a prize this year in MIT’s annual IDEAS competition — a contest for inventions and business ideas that have a potential to make a significant impact in the developing world — and were finalists in the 2010 student-run MIT $100K Business Plan Competition.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Marmota Project Could Be the Next Big Thing for Augmented Reality

Augment reality could provide field workers with instant information about a site, it's health, and nearby resources. Project Marmota, while not health-centric (yet, we're going to send an email) could very well provide the tools to make it happen.