New Wearable Sensor for Saliva and Tear Production

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In the medical industry today, many wearable health devices can help people track things like heart health, diabetes, exercise, blood pressure, and so much more. Heart monitors, fitness trackers, Smartwatches, eyewear, and even clothing are just some things that can allow consumers to track their health and well-being. Another handy device could be on the way, thanks to scientists at Penn State University. The device will monitor your health and administer needed medication to assist a patient’s saliva and natural tears. Most importantly, if approved, it would have to be a low-cost option for patients that want to use it. The device would also help manage and possibly detect certain diseases such as oral cancer and infections, oral ulcers, and many types of eye infections. The device functions by using a microneedle to effortlessly and safely deliver the correct dosage of any prescribed medication that the patient may need through the skin, eye, or tongue. This is achieved by micro to nano steel ports on the structure to deliver the medication even as deep as the patient’s individual cells in their body.

As far as Penn State’s involvement in this process, Professor Huanyu Chang in the Penn State Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics hopes to not only expand this potential miracle technology to other medical uses and applications, but he also hopes that it will be a beacon of hope for people in desperate need of relief from painful ailments. The data of different bodily readings could be readily displayed on a patient’s computer, tablet, or smartphone. Not only that, but the patient would have rapid, accurate results in the shortest amount of time possible.

While this exciting new technology is a long way from being perfected, it is hoped that it can be applied to many applications and devices, big or small, when it is it. The ability to quickly see test results and reading will allow doctors to diagnose and treat their patients much sooner than traditional methods.

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New Pressure-Sensitive Wearable Medical Devices

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Credit: Khademhosseini Laboratory

                Thanks to the evolution of technology, personally monitoring one’s health has never been easier. Products such as Apple watches to Fitbits have made it much more accessible. The variety of these devices can have endless possibilities from devices that measure vitals, weight loss, and the number of steps taken in a day. This has become another major part of the multibillion-dollar mobile technology industry.

Medical device technology continues to grow and change in making unique and effective ways to function. One of those iterations is wearable pressure sensor technology. With the slightest amount of pressure, doctors will now be able to read and see more of a person’s vitals than before. Materials like stronger elastics help make sure that the sensors not only function more efficiently but also last longer. Elastics can house mechanical elements such as wires and body sensors too. Some of the materials used have included adhesive pads for placing on the skin—these materials in the devices (cobalt chrome alloy, titanium, and stainless steel). Along with the sensors and monitors, gels are used known as hydrogels that can be applied to the skin and help measure body heat and the patient’s overall temperature and its own active biosensor. They can monitor blood pressure, pulse, and even vocal cord vibrations.

Creating these new fabrications also helps address medical teams’ many issues, such as moisture from the body, disrupting the sensors to water evaporation, and structural damage. These innovations can give physicians the ability to measure every critical aspect of the patient’s body, both internal and external, giving doctors the freedom to remotely help their patients.

               Behind this innovation is the Terasaki Institute of Biomedical Innovation. They believe that giving patients a more convenient and affordable way, such as these sensors and devices, could drastically impact medical care in the future. May the Institute continue to have massive success in future breakthroughs. If you like to read more, you may click here or here for more information.