Radiation Sensor Fine-Tunes Cancer Treatments

An implantable detector could monitor changes in tumors

3 min read

A new implantable device promises to offer doctors more precision in treating patients with cancerous tumors. Babak Ziaie, a professor of biomedical engineering at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana, has created a wireless radiation detector that measures from within a tumor itself how much therapeutic radiation the tumor is getting.

Ziaie designed the tiny dosimeter, which is about 2 centimeters long, to fit inside a hypodermic needle, making it easy to inject the device into the body. The detector is simple--a modified capacitor attached to an inductor, both of which are encased in a glass capsule. His breakthrough was to use micromachining techniques to shrink the device.

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Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?

Extracting and using brain data will make workers happier and more productive, backers say

11 min read
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A photo collage showing a man wearing a eeg headset while looking at a computer screen.
Nadia Radic
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Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole.

To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

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