Tech for good

Five new technologies revolutionizing healthcare

Cancer-fighting lasers, smart limbs and more wearable tech than you can imagine – here are five innovations revolutionizing the world of healthcare.

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As the planet’s population swells – and more importantly, ages – the need for agile, next-generation healthcare will increase too. Which is lucky, because a selection of leading minds from all over the world is revolutionizing the industry. Here are five of the technologies they’re working on that could help us all live better for longer.

Wearable tech for Parkinson’s patients

This tech helped a 29-year-old graphic designer with Parkinson’s to draw again

Watches, bracelets, bangles – wearable tech is everywhere. Why? Beats me. One thing that is becoming more useful, however, is the ability to monitor physical health, and in some cases even improve it. We’re becoming one with tech, the movement called transhumanism. Well, maybe not just yet, but the Emma device, developed by Haiyan Zhang at Microsoft, is speeding up the process.

A simple wristband with the ability to create a noisy vibration signal, it stimulates the hand of a Parkinson’s disease patient who has a tremor. The result? Patients can draw and write again.

Drones versus mosquitos

Florida drones fighting back against their malaria-inducing counterparts

Mozzies. They’ve plagued us for centuries, but (hopefully) no more, especially if the innovative people at the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District get their way. They’ll be spending their summer using drones to spread larvacide over salt marshes, AKA mosquitos’ breeding grounds. These winged, technological beasts will carry up to eight pounds of larvacide – the perfect amount for two acres. Scratching a certain itch for you? Watch the video to see it in the flesh.

Bionic limbs… just cheaper

How do you safeguard prosthetic limbs from a cyberattack?

Bionic prosthetic limbs are nothing new. Affordable bionic prosthetic limbs? Now we’re talking. Kaspersky, the cybersecurity experts, have been working with Motorica on safeguarding a more accessible alternative to the traditional, expensive models. Their devices help people to restore limb movement, but they also serve a different purpose. Using internet of things (IoT) tech, the limbs send statistics to the cloud for use later on in the patient’s recovery journey. However, as with most IoT devices, the cybersecurity risk is high. That’s where Kaspersky came in to help make it safe.

Walklake: the child illness-diagnosing robot

2,000 school children, one next-generation robot – students in China are going face-to-face with Walklake. Designed to scan for signs of illness in three seconds – from fever to sore throats – Walklake is armed with cameras, sensors – and hatred for ailments. It’s preventing illness from spreading throughout Chinese schools, but could this be scaled up to be used at hospitals? I hope so.

Cancer-fighting lasers

The moment we’ve long been waiting for – brought to you by the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences. A team of scientists has given the bad side of mother nature a scare, using a laser that kills cancer cells from the outside.

The basic version: a laser that attacks cancer cells before they can spread. The detailed version: a laser that’s 1,000 times more sensitive than today’s methods, beaming on circulating tumor cells which causes them to expand and collapse under the heat. One patient in prototype tests shed 96 percent of their cancerous cells. Now that’s progress.

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About authors

Ryan Loftus is a freelance writer specializing in topics like technology, climate change, and the future of agriculture. He's interested in farming advancements and how they can help combat global warming.