The 2011 Tech Revolution
By E.M. Wollof from SLN More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the The Cold Boot Blog Series
What's up everybody! In true end of the year fashion, I figured I would stick with a tried and true top ten list. Now, this list isn't anything more than my opinion of the top ten health tech innovations of 2011. This year was an amazing year for invention and discovery, there is no way to fit everything that was created into a list that would be short or make any sense, so I chose ten that were super interesting and did/will have some type of impact.
10.) emWave Technology
emWave is a technology created to help those who operate consistently at a million miles an hour, slow things down a little bit. You apply a heart rate monitor, either on your finger or in your ear, and then use the interactive software to train yourself how to calm down. The software includes vivid visual representations of your heart rate and provides games, music and visual imagery to facilitate the de-stressing process.
With as many people falling prey to stress and anxiety in today's culture, the emWave is bound to be successful.
9.) The Nurse Robot
While the name may imply a more general practitioner, the nurse robot is for facilitating movement in those who may be experiencing trouble and for rehabilitation. The robot fits around the knees and actually powers the movement of the knee during everyday movement.
The first thing that popped into my head when I saw this amazing innovation, was someone being dragged by a renegade robot nurse. After reading further I found out that there are fail safes in place for just that. We should all be thankful for developers who have a vivid imagination.
8.) The Prototype Cast
The prototype cast is...well, it is just what it sounds like. The cast is a thin material that uses electromyographic sensors to actually measure the activity level of the injured area. It is currently being used to help with physical therapy, mainly with the physical therapy that people just don't want to go to. The cast will tell the wearer that there is no progress being made to heal the wound, kind of like an alarm clock for broken bones.
The future implications for this technology are pretty open. Weight loss has been one of the buzz phrases as of late with the cast being paired with some software that would constantly remind you that you are being lazy. While I am all for a call to action, I don't want to be bothered while I am putting in some serious gaming...welcome to the problem.
7.) My Dear Watson
Many may be aware of the super computer that pwned on Jeopardy this year. The scary science monolith known as Watson effectively made all the other contestants reevaluate their application to being dumber than a fifth grader.
IBM is currently working with Watson on diagnostic software that could provided on the spot diagnosis to all documented ailments. Watch out all you M.D.'s, you may be hanging up the lab coat very soon...
6.) The Giving Bandage
Scientists/developers have recently come up with a bandage that not only encourages new blood vessel growth, but actually guides the vessels in how to grow efficiently. To be honest, I don't really know what to add to this, it's a freakin bandaide that heals you quickly and efficiently, no other description needed. I just wonder if it will come in hello kitty...
5.) Micro Needle Sensors
While most cringe every time they see a needle about to penetrate their skin, researchers recently invented micro needles that stay in all the time! Calm down now, these micro needles are actually super micro and contain sensors that monitor your body chemistry at all times. So, after your fifteenth cup of coffee, when you are crashing like no one's business, these sensors will let you know that you are an idiot who should have seen this coming. More importantly, they can monitor blood sugar, blood pressure and even the presence of the cold virus.
4.) Silicon Chips
Scientists have developed what they are calling a "lab in a chip." These silicon chips have the ability to completely sequence the genome of any cell that they attach themselves too. Most recently, they sequenced the genome of an E-coli strain that had killed 37 people in Europe, effectively stopping the strain in its tracks by allowing a vaccine to be tailored specifically to that strain.
The implications of an invention like this are completely limitless right now, use your imaginations and I promise excitement will follow.
3.) Nano Revolution!
2011 was the year of the nano revolution, as scientists were effectively able to create nanobots that can be controlled in a living being. This means that when drugs need to be delivered in a precise location and there is no room for error, these bots are deployed to attack on all fronts, getting the job done without any harm to the surrounding tissue.
To those who revolt at the idea of robots tooling around your bloodstream, I'm sure they will come out with a really cool commercial to make you feel better.
Hailed by many was the greatest invention/discovery of 2011, graphene is an atom thick (yes, that is exactly how thick it is) extremely strong substance that can do almost anything. Graphene is extremely easy to produce, it is cost-effective and is already being used in mass production right now! Go ahead and Google some graphene, you can see how broad the applications of this amazing invention are.
Now, the single most exciting thing about graphene is that it produces electricity when struck by light! This opens up a whole new world of self-sustainable energy, especially when you think about how small and easy to produce it is. I have no doubt we will be seeing graphene the way we see plastic in a very near future.
My selection for number one is extremely biased, as I am a gamer and try to support all things that gaming is involved in. Foldit is a software program created to aid in the sequencing of proteins. Programmed as a puzzle type game, users log on and attempt to solve puzzles and create different sequences, each one more complex than the next. Each of these "puzzles" is based on an actual DNA sequence of a protein currently being researched.
Within 10 days of first being posted, gamers unlocked a protein known as retroviral protease. This protein is the key to the way that the HIV virus multiplies and researchers have been working on unraveling its secrets for over 15 years! If you want to solve some puzzles and also take part in helping to cure all that ails the human species, jump on over to foldit and do a little good (all while becoming part of the greatest community on the planet!).
That's all for this week! Have an absolutely fantastic X-Mas and enjoy all the awesome tech available this year!