First millimeter-scale computer could treat glaucoma: This past weekend at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, researchers from the University of Michigan presented what is believed to be the world’s first complete millimeter-scale computer. Measuring in at just over 1 cubic millimeter, the computer features an ultra low-power microprocessor, pressure sensor, memory, thin-film battery, a solar cell and a wireless radio with an antenna that can communicate with an external reader. In all, it consumes only 5.3 nanowatts, requires 1.5 hours of sunlight to charge the battery, and can store up to a week’s worth of information. This specific computer will be targeted towards glaucoma patients. The computer, a pressure monitor, is designed to be implanted in the eye and can continuously track the progress of glaucoma. Bell’s Law, a corollary to Moore’s Law, presents them the challenge of developing a new line of millimeter-scale computing systems to be the future of medical sensors and monitoring devices, according to University of Michigan researchers.
Brain-computer interfaces for severely paralyzed go on trial: Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh will soon begin trialing two different brain computer interface (BCI) devices on patients with spinal cord injury. The hope is that these BCIs will allow patients to control external devices, such as computers and prostheses, bringing some level of independence to the severely paralyzed. One was developed at Pitt and is a 10 x 10 electrode array that has been previously successfully tested on monkeys. The other seems to be an electrocorticography (ECoG) device from the University of Washington that has been featured on these pages before.
iGrow launches home system for hair regrowth: Hair restoration therapies have become increasingly popular in recent years, but the treatments are often prohibitively expensive. Newport Beach, Calif.-based Apira Science Inc. launched the iGrow system, which the company claims will significantly reduce the cost of hair restoration treatment. The iGrow consists of a helmet with laser and LED diodes which deliver low level laser therapy to the scalp, and that supposedly allows patients to regrow their hair at home. Paint us skeptical, but what do we know? Apira claims that results can be realized with 12 weeks of use, and recommends that patients use the helmet for 24 weeks for best results.
Glass vasculature enables researchers to watch blood flow: A couple of Medgadget editors recently popped down to Anaheim, Calif. for MDM West, a large conference for medical design and manufacturing. While wandering the convention hall, they ran into a full scale vascular model made completely of glass by a company called Farlow’s Scientific Glassblowing. For 30 years, they have been hand blowing human models of vasculature (among other products) to enable fluid dynamics experimentation without using animal models. Their flagship model, the CAM 02, has all the major arteries in the body represented and is a beautiful piece of completely functional art.
A weekly roundup of new developments in medical technology, by MedGadget.com.