First International Conference on Wearable Devices for Medical Diagnosis. (photo credit: Courtesy)
The “First International Conference on Wearable Devices for Medical Diagnosis” will be held at TechnionâIsrael Institute of Technology in Haifa, and was attended by academic personnel from all over the world last month.
The conference was led by Professor Hossam Haick, head of the Nanomaterial-based Devices Laboratory at the Wolfson Chemical Engineering Faculty and a member of the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute (RBNI).
âThe field of ââwearable devices has been gaining momentum in recent years, and today there are wearable diagnostic technologies such as smart watches and smart clothes,â said Haick. âBut they are often inaccurate or limited in the variety of possible applications. The way to leapfrog ahead in this area is biochemical sensing â precise monitoring of physiological conditions based on chemical monitoring of the skin and of various organs. We aim to produce non-invasive â or almost non-invasive â monitoring technologies and to connect the sensors to IOT (Internet of Things) infrastructures, so that multiple data can be collected and analyzed electronically for the benefit of the medical staff.â
The conference focused on “wearable medical devices” such as development of medical monitoring sensors, cardiac monitoring devices, pulmonary function monitoring and skin patches for monitoring tuberculosis.
The opening lectures were presented by Prof. Kenneth Suslick of the University of Illinois and Prof. Corrado di Natale of the University of Rome, where they discussed the solutions they have come up with in the field of “wearable medical devices” in the last decade and are “likely to play a major role in the diagnosis of diseases by wearable technologies.”
âIn fact, we developed a system that identifies the âmolecular fingerprintâ of odors, enabling accurate electronic mapping of the components of odor and monitors toxic gases and spoiled food,â said Suslick. âThey can distinguish among different types of coffee, whiskey, etc. In medicine, we have been able to perform continuous monitoring over time and identify biological markers of heart and kidney disease, and no less importantly, monitor bacterial resistance to medications.â
During the conference Ph.D. candidate Muhammad Khatib of the Haick Research Group presenting monitoring systems that can even repair themselves: âWhen we speak about wearable equipment,â said Khatib, âwe want systems that can stretch and are flexible, but they also must be self-correcting, which we developed with inspiration from nature and the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.â
âAnimals have the ability to repair damaged tissues in their body, and that is the characteristic that we want to copy,â Khatib continued. âWhat we have developed is a polymer-based transistor that can repair itself not only structurally and mechanically, but also in terms of its electrical properties. After we saw that it succeeded in fixing itself when we cut it, we repeated it in various types of water, even seawater, and found that it quickly repairs itself and recovers its previous capabilities. The significance of this is that these devices can work in the damp environment of biological tissue, on sweaty skin, and so forth.â
“The conference was held at a unique time in terms of the international activities of the Nanomaterial-Based Devices Lab, namely the completion of the SniffPhone consortium and the opening of two new clusters: VOGAS and A-Patch. The three consortia are part of the Horizon 2020 program of the European Union, which allocated a total amount of 18 million euro to them.
“The SniffPhone system is based on a smartphone-related technology for speedy diagnosis of cancer and other diseases based on the patientâs breath. The new hardware is a system the size of a smartphone into which the patient exhales (without the need to hold it directly on the mouth). The data are transmitted via mobile phone to the âcloudâ in which the information is analyzed and the results are transmitted to the attending physician. Vogas, a consortium of academics and industry partners from Europe and Latin America, is continuing the same project for eventual clinical implementation,” according to a press release.
The conference and solutions presented during the two day lectures have the ability to change the medical field and the way we diagnose diseases for the better – presenting inexpensive and innovative ways to solve medical issues. The benefits of this conference will be seen in the coming years, and we will see if this innovative technology makes it way into the medical world.
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