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Medical Equipment Design

The Medical Equipment Design Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about medical grade materials and products, electrical and electronic equipment, computers, imaging & software, and home healthcare & diagnostics as used in the medical industry. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Touchable Tablet Helps the Visually Impaired Navigate

Posted June 07, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

The lightweight, reconfigurable touchscreen tablet generates graphical information that can be ‘read’ with the user’s fingers. The device incorporates 192 buttons that move up and down in a few milliseconds to create patterns depicting street maps or a building’s layout.


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Tips for Preventing Preventable Hearing Loss

Posted May 20, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Hearing loss caused by prolonged exposure to music or a noisy work environment can be gradual with the first signs being missed background noises (a squeaking door, the ticking of a clock) to affected conversations.


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3 comments; last comment on 05/20/2017
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Sticking to Neural Tissue

Posted March 26, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

The ability to interface with neural tissues is enabling a new range of health interventions. Researchers have developed a method for effectively connecting electrodes to neural tissue. This opens the door for advances in pacemakers, deep brain stimulators for treating Parkinson's disease, cochlear implants, functional artificial limbs, and smart contact lenses.


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1 comments; last comment on 04/05/2017
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Watch a Hand-powered Blood Centrifuge Inspired by a Whirligig Toy

Posted January 25, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

The device could be used to diagnose diseases in areas where there is little infrastructure or electricity. Watch now.


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1 comments; last comment on 01/26/2017
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Life-Saving Breath

Posted January 07, 2017 12:00 AM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: breathalyzer disease

We have all been in contact with foul-smelling breath before; whether it was your own, a significant other’s, or maybe the breath of a close-talking stranger. Surprisingly, that scent might carry valuable information about your health…and that information might prove to be life-saving.

A “breathalyzer” device, which is described in a study published in the journal ACS Nano, has been developed to detect diseases by simply measuring the user’s breath.

The study operates under the idea that every disease has a “breathpoint,” meaning that certain smells, or the absence of certain smells, might hint at the presence of particular diseases in the body.

The study, which tested over 1,400 participants (both sick and healthy) from five different countries, identified over 100 chemical compounds that are exhaled with each breath. Of the 100, 13 of those chemical compounds were associated with specific diseases. An “artificially intelligent” nanoarray was used to measure the concentrations of the chemicals. If the concentrations were too high or too low, it was an indication that something might be wrong. That data was further analyzed by another “artificially intelligent” system that looked at characteristics such as age and gender in addition to other factors that might contribute to the presence of specific diseases.

Although it is in the early stages of development, the device could identify each participant’s disease with 86 percent accuracy. While that percentage is not accurate enough to make the device a reliable diagnostic tool, it does show promise.

The idea that you can detect disease from simply smelling a person’s breath is not new. It was an ancient practice to smell other forms of bodily excrement to detect disease. In similar studies, it was thought that people who presented with breath that smelled like rotten apples suffered from diabetes and that people who presented with fishy-scented breath suffered from a form of liver disease.

Some of the diseases that can be diagnosed using the breathalyzer include lung cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. Others include different types of cancer, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, two kinds of Parkinson’s disease, pulmonary arterial hypertension, pre-eclampsia, and chronic kidney disease.

The clear benefits of testing for diseases in this noninvasive way are significant. The device could save lives, noting the presence of disease before a patient is symptomatic. And because taking a breathalyzer is seemingly painless, it might encourage patients to test for diseases earlier now that they can avoid what are often pretty painful diagnostic tests, as can be the case for diseases like cancer.

And while the device is portable in its current form, developers are hoping to make the device even more accessible by connecting it in some way to standard smart phones.

7 comments; last comment on 01/10/2017
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