Crowd-sourcing has become quite popular method of raising capital for up and coming startups and the mHealth sector is no stranger to the concept, with a project recently having reached funds on Indiegogo for Dextrus: the open source robotic prosthetic hand.
The campaign reached its $64000 goal in just over a month with sponsors donating around an additional $8000 in excess.
The company has pledged to use the funds to create a viable prosthetic arm that can be sold for under $1000. It hopes to publish the designs of the prosthetic as an open-source project with no patents so that other companies can develop on it and further improve on the concept. Their focus also extends to the developing world where import taxes impose a significant cost burden on such devices.
Dextrus is currently already being used in its prototype form by Chef Liam Corbett, who lost his right arm as a complication of meningitis. Some of you may have already sampled food prepared by robot hands.
The Editorial Board at the Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine is proud to present Volume 2, Issue 3, published in November 2013. Mobile technology in Medicine is a rapidly developing area, and we hope to continue accelerating research in the field. We look forward to your submissions for Issue 4.
Your run-of-the-mill earphones could be the latest innovation in mobile health technology. In the past, music has gotten pulses racing, now with health, it seems we can measure how much by. The Kaiteki Institute in Japan and Bifrostec has been developing technology to turn earphones into pulse rate monitors via special software algorithms.
This technology works by utilising the pressure change in the enclosed ear caused by pulsating arteries when earphones are worn. This pressure change occurs at roughly 1Hz and can be detected by earbuds functioning as microphones. Since earphones do not always make a completely enclosed space and measurements can be influenced by ambient noise, the companies have created unique signal processing technologies to combat these issues.
Given the rise of the “Quantified Self” movement, many fitness tracking devices and apps have hit the market. One possible utilisation of this technology could be a simple pulse tracker for those who prefer to run while listening to music with one less gadget to carry. The companies are also developing “at home” medical vital sign monitoring equipment for the future based on similar principles.
The FDA guidelines which were recently published have required FDA approval for certain types of apps and mobile attachments which are essentially designed to function as medical devices which would have otherwise required FDA clerance. Here are some FDA approved programs which are a great model for future devices/apps.
Sotera Wireless recently announced that one of the company’s key products, the continuous non-invasive blood pressure monitor (cNIBP), has cleared the FDA regulatory process. This means that continuous, beat-to-beat, cuff and invasive catheter less blood pressure measurements are one step closer to hitting hospital floors.
This technology is part of the ViSi Mobile patient monitoring system that is being developed by the San Diego based company. Once released, the wrist worn device will allow for the continuous measurement of all core patient vital signs including blood pressure, heart rate, ECG, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate and even skin temperature. Sotera claims that the accuracy of the devices can match those offered by the systems used in Intensive Care Units, citing studies that show blood pressure accuracy is claimed to be within a range of 5mmHg as compared to invasive arterial line monitoring.
Wireless monitoring technology could prove to be revolutionary in healthcare as it has the potential to dramatically reduce the workload on healthcare staff, where routine measurements of vital signs take considerable time. The wireless nature of the system would also allow computer/mobile based access to the vital signs, alleviating the need to “hunt for the patient charts” during the daily medical ward round.
Dr Bob Murad, Co-founder of Sotera, said ““Hospitals are now safer, gentler places. With continuous monitoring of all vital signs, now including cuffless and continuous blood pressure, hospitals can be confident that deterioration in a patient’s condition will not go unnoticed for hours at a time between periods of observation. No longer will healing patients have to endure sleep interruptions in order to document that all is well.”
Press Release: http://www.soterawireless.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/new_cNIBP_clearance_PR010-100913Final.pdf
The stratospheric rise of smartphones has also brought with it several dominant platforms all vying for users, each with it’s unique features, but offering essentially the same core functionality. Many apps and services have now standardised their apps or features across multiple platforms, including AirStrip, which became the first mHealth company to support the yet unreleased Microsoft Windows 8.1 OS.
“Mobility is no longer defined as just smartphones and tablets. This release of AirStrip ONE Cardiology for Windows 8.1 supports our vision of developing a consistent and seamless user experience for mobile clinical professionals, regardless of form factor,” said Alan Portela, CEO of AirStrip in a company press release. With much of the existing hospital IT infrastructure firmly entrenched in the Windows platform, this move would allow for better integration and a consistent experience for clinicians. He stated that “enabling clinicians to access vital data from across the care continuum in a single unified format will result in an increase in mobile utilisation, helping to drive transformation toward higher quality, more efficient care that mitigates the increasing pressures on a fast-changing healthcare system.”
Microsoft has welcomed the development and has assured a seamless experience across all form factors of devices that utilise the OS including Microsofts own Surface tablets. One of the early Apple ads fired the imagination of clinicians when it showed an ECG rhythm strip being recorded on an iPad. With this development, the Surface may also become ubiquitous in the mHealth field once AirStrip clears the necessary FDA regulations.
Press Release: http://www.airstrip.com/sites/default/files/Cardiology-for-Windows-News-Release-final-9-30.pdf