While everyone marvels over Internet and mobile device technology, medical breakthroughs are happening nearly as fast. In fact, it’s quite common for most technologies to be adapted to service other practical functions in various devices. It’s a cohesive development as one improvement for a specific use is augmented to serve another in a completely unrelated field of study. How has this technology improved the medical industry?
1. Bionic Eyes
The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System provides sight to the blind by utilizing macro computer technology. Essentially, a pair of glasses equipped with a camera sends information to a computer in the back of the eye which then sends signals back to the brain. A 60-electrode array rests on the surface of the retina and is roughly the size of an aspirin. This device stimulates remaining health neurons while communicating with the computer in order to process imagery. Clear sight is still far away, but the Argus II allows users to process shapes and figures that were once invisible.
2. Prosthetic Arms
Unlike the nonfunctional mannequin arms of the old days, Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, has developed a prosthetic arm and hand that is controlled by the mind. Using input from the brain, the mechanical extremity can adjust for the amount of pressure and coordination to pick up items as small as coins. It is even capable of allowing an individual to handle a knife to chop food in preparation for a meal. The “Luke” arm, named after Luke Skywalker when his hand was removed in Star Wars Episode V, allows the individual to have an increased range of motion for completing many tasks that were otherwise impossible.
3. Lasers and Regeneration
In a recent study, scientists have encouraged the growth and regeneration of certain tooth-building stem cells in rats using laser light. The study provides strong evidence to support that the energy from a laser can trigger a biological response. Some believe that this would be the case as humans share a great deal of DNA markers with the plants on Earth – which convert light energy into growth in much the same way.
4. Organ Replacement
In 2013, Japanese scientists succeeded in developing the first liver using pluripotent stem cell growth. The study concludes that if immature liver cells were implanted into a host surrounded by normally nurturing supportive cells, the liver could essentially grow to embrace the host with a lower chance of organ rejection.
5. Eye Tracking Communication
Developments concerning eye-scanning have done everything from being used within security systems to determining what visitors on a website are most interested in. Eye tracking is being further developed in order to allow individuals that are incapable of speech to communicate. By monitoring the movements of the eyes, computerized systems provide a virtual keyboard allowing patients to communicate when otherwise incapacitated. Using eye movements, a person can virtually type out a message on the computer screen which is translated by text or computerized speech.
Each year brings more improved innovations that are used to help those in need. Medical technology can keep people alive longer while assisting in the discovery of answers to problems that plague the human body. A great many developments have happened within the span of a decade. Can you imagine what will be developed in the next 10 years?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.