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Wireless Health Care

Wireless technologies are about to transform health care, and not a moment too soon

14 min read
Wireless Health Care
Illustration: Viktor Koen

Imagine a world in which your medicine cabinet notices that you are due for a prescription refill and calls it in. A sensor implanted under your skin detects a fluid buildup in your lungs and alerts your doctor, who decides your heart medication needs an adjustment and contacts the pharmacist to change your dosage. Meanwhile, sensors in your toilet confirm that your body has adjusted well to your other medications but sees indications that you may be a borderline diabetic. Your doctor, given these readings and your family medical history, suggests that you change your diet. Noting that fact, your bathroom scale asks you to punch in a weight-loss goal and starts giving you a regular progress update. Your medical checkup isn’t an annual event—it happens every day, simply as you go about your daily life.

If such ambient monitoring and intervention strikes you as a little creepy, think of it this way: It could avert a heart attack, stroke, or other medical crisis. It could keep you out of the hospital and save money for both you and the health care system. Part of the savings would come from radical changes in the management of chronic diseases, which in the United States eats up 75 percent of health care spending, or about US $1.9 trillion each year.

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This Wearable Neck Patch Can Diagnose Concussions

Self-powered sensors convert neck strain into electrical pulses to detect head trauma in athletes

4 min read
image of back of man's head and shoulders with a patch taped to his lower neck; right image is a time lapse image of a man's head extending far forward and back, simulating a case of whiplash

The prototype patch in this research is shown in a) on the left, with the kind of head rotation depicted that can yield an electrical response from the patch, in b) on the right.

Juan Pastrana

Nelson Sepúlveda was sitting in the stands at Spartan Stadium, watching his hometown Michigan State players bash heads with their cross-state football rivals from the University of Michigan, when he had a scientific epiphany.

Perhaps the nanotechnologies he had been working on for years—paper-thin devices known as ferroelectret nanogenerators that convert mechanical energy into electrical energy—could help save these athletes from the ravages of traumatic brain injury.

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Video Friday: PoKeBo Cubes

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

2 min read
A young girl looks at a cluster of three simple robots facing each other on a table

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

RoboCup 2022: 11 July–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20 August–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12 September–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4 November–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14 December–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today's videos!

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Modeling Microfluidic Organ-on-a-Chip Devices

Register for this webinar to enhance your modeling and design processes for microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices using COMSOL Multiphysics

1 min read
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Comsol

If you want to enhance your modeling and design processes for microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices, tune into this webinar.

You will learn methods for simulating the performance and behavior of microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices and microphysiological systems in COMSOL Multiphysics. Additionally, you will see how to couple multiple physical effects in your model, including chemical transport, particle tracing, and fluid–structure interaction. You will also learn how to distill simulation output to find key design parameters and obtain a high-level description of system performance and behavior.

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