kv Blogs
 Kohli Ventures
4 February 2016

The Future’s in Your Hands; The Tech That Will Keep You Healthy

Imagine a future where people with chronic diseases can monitor and track their own health without a trip to the doctor. Where an implanted neural sensor could transmit electrical pulses in the brain to an exoskeleton – allowing the paralysed to move independently. Where implants in the human body could trace your vital signs, and transmit warnings about imminent medical emergencies, like heart attacks or strokes, to your medical professional. Well, you may not have to imagine for long. As the worlds of tech and medicine draw ever closer, these are the kinds of technologies in development at the moment. The first brain-machine interface, a tiny device implanted in the brain, which transmits neural signals to a wheelchair or exoskeleton has infact already been tested. Stroke and spinal cord injuries are some of the leading causes of disability – and this tech enables those disempowered by disability to claim their independence back.[1] In a time so advanced that even the seemingly impossible is becoming medical reality, we wanted to take a look at the other innovations and technical advances which are allowing people to take their health into their own hands. Google Lens Conditions such as diabetes can have long-term health impacts on individuals and populations. Diabetes is a particular problem in developed countries, where problems with obesity are commonplace. The condition can cause debilitating problems like blindness, if it goes unchecked – which places a huge burden on societies and healthcare services. While the Google Glass may have all but disappeared from the public eye, in 2015 Google applied for a patent for the Google Lens. This will be much like a contact lens, but actively collects health data from the wearer via an implanted microchip – specifically, measuring the glucose levels in the blood. This could allow diabetes sufferers to track their own blood glucose levels, thereby knowing when to address a dip in their blood-sugar level and when to deal with it rising too high. Cohero Health Asthma is a huge medical burden in both developed and non-developed countries, with an estimated 334 million people around the globe suffering from the condition. Asthma is a respiratory disease, which is fairly easy to manage with the use of an inhaler however, ensuring that patients take their medication correctly, and have it on hand in case of emergencies is less easy to regulate. Cohero health aims to give responsibility for the condition back to the sufferers, and allow them to monitor their own medication and respiration to help prevent costly and traumatic hopsitalisations. The technology works via a bluetooth jacket placed over the patient’s inhaler which communicates with a smartphone app. A handheld, Bluetooth enabled spirometer also measures lung function, and transmits data directly to the Cohero app. The app monitors how often the inhaler is used and how effectively; it also recordsthe owner’s lung function, and tracks when this is put under stress. The benefits of this app are that it allows medical professionals to track adherence to advice and medication – while also engaging the patient in self-monitoring behavior to control their condition and treatment. Veti-Gel Veti-gel is a piece of scientific technology that, although it might seem like something out of a science fiction movie, is already in existence. Created out of plant polymers (structural molecules that store energy), when this gel is applied to a wound, it reassembles in mimicry of the thing it is placed next to. So, when placed on an open wound it will quickly assemble in the same pattern as your skin tissue – blocking the bleeding. It also helps blood to clot much faster than normal. To see how it works, watch this The potential uses for Veti-Gel are huge. In ambulances, first aid kits, battlefields or even medical cabinets – this could be a revolutionary breakthrough in medical technology, and a lifesaver for millions of people in the future. True innovation. Peek The World Health Organisation states that globally over 285 million people are blind or visually impaired. And for individuals living in remote areas, with low income and scarce access to medical treatment, this can make the condition unbearable to live with. What’s perhaps even sadder is that many cases of blindness are easily preventable, with some statistics putting the figure at four in five. In 2013 the app ‘Peek’ was released. It is able to diagnose cataracts whilst being easy to use (requiring minimal training), portable and inexpensive. It uses the flash from a smartphone camera to scan for cataracts. The GPS location of the patient is recorded and the results of the test sent to a medical professional. With accurate diagnosis, the treatment of the causes of conditions like cataracts blindness can be administered. The procedure, although easy, does cost money. Thankfully organisations like The Kohli Foundation are making access to treatment easier, improving the lives of many people around the globe. Whether it is wearable technology tracking your physical functions. Apps advising and tracking mental health care or nutritional and exercise goals. Or medical and technological innovations, helping people in ways we’d never dreamt possible – medicine is advancing faster than ever before. And one trend is obvious. The future will be all about helping people to manage their healthcare on their own, without the need for support from carers or the hospitals. This will lessen the burden of disability on society, and give people the independence and self sufficiency they deserve. The future of medicine looks as though it really will be in our hands. source [1]