Infrared goggles can even help wearers navigate in darkness, say researchers 

By Vishwam Sankaran

A new device that can help blind people navigate and avoid obstacles was developed by scientists using infrared goggles and an array of vibrating pads on the forearm. 

Unlike canes and many other tools commonly available to visually impaired people for navigation, the new device enables the full use of their hands, according to a yet-to-be peer-reviewed study on the device that was posted in the preprint repository arXiv this month.

“The most common tool available to them is the cane. Although the cane allows good detection of objects in the user’s immediate vicinity, it lacks the ability to detect obstacles further away,” researchers Manuel Zahn and Armaghan Ahmad Khan from the Technical University of Munich in Germany wrote in the study.

The new device also does not interfere with the user’s sense of hearing – which is extensively used by the visually impaired – according to the scientists.

It uses a pair of infrared cameras inserted in 3D-printed prototype goggles to capture a stereoscopic image that a small computer uses to create a map of the surrounding area.


Quantum Operation Non-Invasive Glucose Monitor: World’s First-Ever Non-Invasive Needle-Less Wearable

By Nica Osorio 

Key Points

  • Quantum Operation Inc., announces a medical miracle at the CES 2022
  • The Japanese IoT startup claims it has developed a non-invasive glucose monitor
  • Called the Noninvassive Glucometer Wristband, the device promises to revolutionize diabetes management

Blood glucose monitoring is crucial in managing diabetes as it keeps track of the changes in a person’s blood sugar levels, which in effect, provides vital information on how food, exercise, stress and habits affect the disease.

Over the years, scientists, engineers and even tech giants have tried to come up with a non-invasive blood glucose monitoring device that diabetics can use, but to no avail. Interestingly, Quantum Operation, a Japanese healthcare IoT startup, claims that it has developed a Noninvasive Glucometer Wristband — a needle-less and accurate blood glucose monitoring wearable that is capable of non-stop monitoring.

Advanced medical technology

Quantum Operation’s Noninvasive Glucometer Wristband offers a far simpler and easier solution that will not require patients to prick their finger for a blood sample that would then be used on test strips of traditional glucose meters. But how is this even possible?

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By Matthew Hart

In December of 2021 SpaceX sent its 24th cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). On board the mission were various experiments—including ones involving plants and potential cures for cancer. A bioprinter that uses “viable cells” to print tissue structures was also aboard. And it makes human skin “band-aids.”

Design Taxi reported on the delivery of the bioprinter, or Bioprint FirstAid, which is a handheld device. The device, in the images above and below, uses a patient’s own skin cells to create tissue-forming patches to cover wounds. And, simultaneously, accelerate the healing process.

NASA notes the device—which kind of looks like a tape dispenser with a bendy syringe instead of tape—uses prepared bio-inks consisting of a patient’s own cells. The collection of human skin cells, coupled with a “crosslinking” material, form a “band-aid patch” in the case of an injury. (Unfortunately, it’s unclear what the cell band-aid looks like as it heals. Or after it has healed. Although it seems to spread as a clear, viscous liquid.)



The VeCare platform comprises a chip, wound sensor, bandage (above), and app for real-time, point-of-care chronic wound monitoring.


A new smart wearable sensor can conduct real-time, point-of-care assessment of chronic wounds wirelessly via an app, according to a new study.

The sensor detects temperature, pH, bacteria type, and inflammatory factors specific to chronic wounds within 15 minutes, allowing for fast and accurate wound assessment.

Given the rapidly aging population, healthcare providers are seeing more patients suffering from non-healing wounds such as diabetic foot and chronic venous leg ulcers. Estimates suggest that about 2% of the world’s population suffer from chronic wounds.

Infection and repeated trauma often interrupt the healing processes for these chronic wounds, leading to severe stress, pain, and discomfort to afflicted patients.

For patients with diabetic foot ulcers, this can lead to more severe outcomes such as foot amputation. Timely care and proper treatment of chronic wounds are needed to speed up wound recovery. However, this requires multiple clinical visits for lengthy wound assessment and treatment, which adds to the healthcare cost.

The new sensor, described in the journal Science Advances, can help mitigate these consequences and relieve patients with chronic wounds from unnecessary distress.


Engineering Artificial Lungs With Help From Lizards

The lizard lung forms quickly by a leveraging simple mechanical process the researchers likened to a mesh stress ball, the common toy. As fluid fills the developing lung, the inner membrane pushes out against smooth muscle tissue. The muscle separates into a honeycomb-shaped mesh and the membrane bulges out through the gaps, creating the surface area needed for gas exchange. Credit: Image courtesy Celeste Nelson and Michael PalmerRead time:  5 minutesGet PDF Version

When it comes to studying lungs, humans take up all the air, but it turns out scientists have a lot to learn from lizards.

A new study from Princeton University shows how the brown anole lizard solves one of nature’s most complex problems — breathing — with ultimate simplicity. Whereas human lungs develop over months and years into baroque tree-like structures, the anole lung develops in just a few days into crude lobes covered with bulbous protuberances. These gourd-like structures, while far less refined, allow the lizard to exchange oxygen for waste gases just as human lungs do. And because they grow quickly by leveraging simple mechanical processes, anole lungs provide new inspiration for engineers designing advanced biotechnologies.

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Lab-Grown Embryo Research Is Poised to Transform Medicine

New advances in stem cell science could alleviate devastating early-life conditions. But this comes with a moral conundrum.  

ACCORDING TO MULTIPLE studies, one in three pregnancies results in miscarriage, and one in 33 babies that are born will have a birth defect, due to the embryo forming incorrectly in the womb. Studying how the embryo develops can help us find ways to bring these numbers down. In 2022, we will see advances in this research thanks to stem-cell-based, embryo-like structures that can be grown in the lab.

Stem cells offer a powerful way to study the early development of the embryo. They can be grown in the lab in vast numbers and can be pushed toward making a huge assortment of cell types, including brain, blood, bone, and muscle.

Recently, several researchers have found ways to join stem cells together into small 3D balls of cells, which facilitate the creation of tiny embryo-like structures. These are currently rudimentary—the structures can be variable, they are inefficient to create and are unable to develop much further. Next year, we are likely to see improvements, with more advanced embryo-like structures made from stem cells. And we are also likely to see scientists using these models to investigate specific problems, such as how the embryo implants into the uterus, how organs start to develop or how the embryo ensures that cells are in the right positions.

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Innovative silicon nanochip can reprogram biological tissue in living body

A silicon device that can change skin tissue into blood vessels and nerve cells has advanced from prototype to standardized fabrication, meaning it can now be made in a consistent, reproducible way. As reported in Nature Protocols, this work, developed by researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine, takes the device one step closer to potential use as a treatment for people with a variety of health concerns.

The technology, called tissue nanotransfection, is a non-invasive nanochip device that can reprogram tissue function by applying a harmless electric spark to deliver specific genes in a fraction of a second. In laboratory studies, the device successfully converted skin tissue into blood vessels to repair a badly injured leg. The technology is currently being used to reprogram tissue for different kinds of therapies, such as repairing brain damage caused by stroke or preventing and reversing nerve damage caused by diabetes.

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Yale researchers develop mRNA-based lyme disease vaccine

Yale researchers have developed an mRNA vaccine that targets the antigens found in tick saliva in order to alert individuals to tick bites as well as prevent the tick from feeding correctly, thereby reducing its ability to transmit pathogens. 

By Cate Roser

Yale researchers have developed an mRNA vaccine against lyme disease that triggers an immune response at the site of a tick bite and provides partial protection against the disease-causing bacteria. 

In a paper published on Nov. 17 in the Science Translational Medicine journal, scientists studied specific ticks called “Ixodes scapulari” that carry a lyme-disease-causing bacteria called “Borrelia burgdorferi.”According to Gunjan Arora, one of the co-first authors of the paper and an associate research scientist at the Yale School of Medicine, lyme disease is the fastest-growing vector-borne illness in the United States, with close to half a million people affected every year. Currently, there are no commercially available vaccines for lyme disease. This novel vaccine is unique in that it targets the vector of transmission, the tick, rather than the actual pathogen itself. “Lyme disease is the most common Tick–borne human illness in the United States, leaving an urgent need for either therapies or preventative strategies, such as a vaccine,” Jacqueline Mathias dos Santos, a co-first author on the paper and a postdoctoral associate at the School of Medicine, wrote in an email to the News. “Our vaccine is unique in that we don’t actually target the pathogen, we target the vector … instead. This strategy can work for Borrelia because it takes around 24 hours of tick feeding for the pathogen to be transmitted. This offers a unique opportunity to disrupt transmission. Additionally, by targeting the vector, we don’t expect this to drive resistance by the pathogen.”

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Researchers develop ultra-thin ‘computer on the bone’ using NFC for bone health monitoring

By Tom Phillips 

Researchers at the University of Arizona in the US have developed an ultra-thin NFC sensor that could be directly attached to human bone and enable physicians to monitor a patient’s bone health and healing from fractures and other traumatic injuries.

The battery-free osseosurface electronics device is as thin as a sheet of paper and “roughly the size of a [US] penny” and draws power from and communicates information to an NFC-enabled smartphone or other NFC reader.

The device’s thin structure means that it can form a “tight interface” with a bone without irritating surrounding tissue, while the adhesive that the researchers have developed to attach it contains calcium particles that allow it to “form a permanent bond to the bone and take measurements over long periods of time”.

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This Holographic Camera Can See Around Corners, Under Human Skin

By Robert Lea

Researchers have invented a new high-resolution camera that may be able “see the unseen.”

The camera could utilize scattered light to see around corners, and potentially even see through skin to allow doctors to observe organs inside the human body.

The camera represents an advance in research in a new field of science called non-line-of-sight imaging, which concerns picturing objects that are obscured or surrounded by material that prevents them from being viewed.

“Our technology will usher in a new wave of imaging capabilities,” Northwestern University researcher Florian Willomitzer said. “Our current sensor prototypes use visible or infrared light, but the principle is universal and could be extended to other wavelengths.”

The method used by the team also has the potential to image fast-moving objects, such as a beating heart through the chest or speeding cars around a street corner.

Willomitzer is the author of a paper detailing the development of the camera published in the journal Nature Communications. 

Continue reading… “This Holographic Camera Can See Around Corners, Under Human Skin”

Harnessing T-Cell Biology To Develop Living Drugs

Superresolution image of a group of killer T cells (green and red) surrounding a cancer cell (blue, center). Credit: Alex Ritter, Jennifer Lippincott Schwartz, Gillian Griffiths/ National Institutes of Health

MUSC Hollings Cancer Center researcher Leonardo Ferreira, Ph.D., well-regarded for his pioneering work with regulatory T-cells, published a paper in Frontiers in Immunology that describes his experience using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) regulatory T-cells to address the challenge of transplant tolerance.

Ferreira, who joined the Medical University of South Carolina’s Department of Immunology on July 1, is changing the rules of the game by exploiting the unique biology of regulatory T-cells, or Tregs. His overall research goal is to understand Treg biology more thoroughly in order to use the cells to treat a range of autoimmune problems.

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First Prototype Bioartificial Kidney Successful: Man-Made Organ May Solve Medical Problems, Giving Hope to Dialysis Patients

By Ron Jefferson 

The first bioartificial kidney developed by The Kidney Project earned a $650,000 prize from the KidneyX’s Artificial Kidney Prize. The man-made kidney technology is expected to be among the most promising solutions in today’s medical advancements that could end challenging kidney problems. Among the key interests of the bioartificial kidney is to implant the device on patients instead of treating them through dialysis machines and decrease the patients on the waiting lists of transplant procedures. The Kidney Project was led by UC San Francisco and Vanderbilt University Medical Center experts Shuvo Roy and William Fissel.

Continue reading… “First Prototype Bioartificial Kidney Successful: Man-Made Organ May Solve Medical Problems, Giving Hope to Dialysis Patients”