A Pill-Sized MRI Powered Robotic Endoscope

Researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston are working on a robotic endoscope. The size of a large pill, the magnetic microswimmer is powered by strong magnetic fields generated by an MRI machine.

Robotic endoscope

The technology was recently published in the journal Biomedical Microdevices. A 20mm long, 5mm wide swimming tail made of copper and flexible polymer vibrates due to the magnets in the MRI machine and propels the capsule endoscope in the stomach. Propulsion speed is on the order of several millimeter per second.

What makes this endoscope truly different from current “capsule endoscopies,” which involves swallowing a pill-sized camera that takes pictures continuously until it is passed, is that electronics and microsensors embedded in the robotic endoscope will allow an operator to manipulate the magnetic field and guide the movement of — literally steer — the device through the GI tract.

In the future, the microswimmer may allow doctors to find difficult-to-diagnose, early stage cancer or allow for treatments such as biopsies or local drug delivery.

Source: American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Ion Proton Sequencer for Genome Sequencing

Ever since the human genome was sequenced in 2000, there’s been talk of a “$1,000 genome” — the ability to map an individual’s complete genome for one thousand U.S. dollars.

Life Technologies announced yesterday that it has achieved that milestone with the release of the new benchtop Ion Proton Sequencer, which is designed to sequence the entire human genome in a single day (existing DNA sequencing technologies take a week or longer) for $1,000 USD.

Ion Proton Sequencer

Electronic Contact Lenses for Blood Glucose Monitoring

Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. Ask anyone with the condition and they will tell you: using a spring-loaded needle to prick their fingers monitor blood glucose (i.e.sugar) levels several times a day is painful procedure.

Researchers from the University of Washington (UW) and Microsoft Research Connections are working together to develop a non-invasive, technological solution that promises to improve both the health and overall quality of life for people with diabetes: a contact lens that, instead of correcting vision, monitors blood glucose levels.

Electronic contact lens

Scanadu Medical Tricorder

We are the last generation that will know so little about our health. That’s the vision of medical tech startup Scanadu. The company has created a scanner they are calling the Medical Tricorder, which is aimed at parents who want to monitor their children’s health in order to make better decisions.

The mobile diagnostic device measures key vital signs — blood pressure, pulmonary function, temperature — and may even be able to read simple samples, sending all information directly to your smartphone. The Medical Tricorder additionally asks screening questions to provide recommendations.

According to the video below, the device can alert you about flu or disease outbreaks tailored to your family’s needs and offers advice on what to do next.

Source: Scanadu

Ultra-thin Brain Implant Could Treat Neurological and Psychiatric Illness

Reflecting a convergence of skills and advances in electrical engineering, materials science and neurosurgery, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia have developed a flexible brain implant that conforms to the brain’s surface and may make possible a whole new generation of brain-computer interfaces for treating neurological and psychiatric illness and research.

Brain array