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The SX Health and MedTech Expo was presented for the first time on March 16th and 17th, the last two days of SXSW's "Interactive" portion. The stage was host to programming and panels, providing opportunities to learn from leading experts in the health and medtech industries. If you were able to wade your way through the growing crowd of anti-artificial intelligence protesters, the Expo had quite a lot to offer in the way of innovative medtech. Here are five of the devices that should have been the focus of attention for those crying out against a robot uprising, considering that they were developed to improve the quality of human life:     

1. The "IT Bra"

In the U.S., one out of eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Often, current breast cancer screening technology won't catch the disease until it's too late. Well, this handy piece of underwear should be able to instantly detect signs of cancer. Sensors integrated into the bra pick up temperature readings that are consistent with that of cancer cells. The data is then, of course, wirelessly transmitted to the woman's smartphone, and to her doctor. It's nice to know that this technology is able to support patients both physically and diagnostically!

2. Brain-Computer Interface for Cerebral Palsy

Neurable, in combination with Wearable Sensing, has developed a brain-computer interface that analyzes the cognitive processes we use to make decisions - in order to assist children with cerebral palsy in scoring better on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. People with neurological disabilities are frequently more intelligent than their cognitive impairment suggests, and this device can help those with cerebral palsy to score better on the test. The helmet, embedded with sensors, is connected to a software system running on a computer. The screen displays the Peabody test with images marked one to four, and numbers flash as the participant focuses on the matching answer. Ideally, this test score will be able to reflect their abilities accurately and give them an education which reflects that.

3. Wearable Air Pollution Drone

This device, still very much in the developmental stages, was displayed by Frog Design at SXSW on a conceptual level, rather than a physical gadget. Part of a product series entitled "Wearable Drones in the City," Breathe is in fact a wearable drone that protects against air pollution in the city. The drone will be oval-shaped and made from a flexible plastic "lung," containing a small propeller at its base for both flight and air intake. It will rest on the user's shoulder, continuously monitoring the levels of air pollution in the immediate area. When the pollution levels become too high, the drone takes flight, launching off the shoulder - hovering a few inches in front of the owner's mouth and supplying fresh, filtered air. So you can breathe easy, no matter where you are!

4. A (Close to) Real-Life Tricorder​

Qualcomm's XPRIZE challenged its contestants to create a multifunctional diagnostic device that comes as close as possible to the Tricorder of sci-fi canon. Cloud DX unveiled its version at SXSW. It's a wearable device that can diagnose up to 15 different diseases, monitor five separate vital signs, and communicate what it finds with the cloud. It's not actually the one handheld Star Trek device, but several. There's a curved piece of plastic that rests on the shoulders and finishes with nodes on the chest - monitoring blood pressure and creating an ECG. Second, an accelerometer measures the user's posture and records steps and body movements. Finally, an earpiece monitors blood oxygenation levels and pulse rate. On the way are additional functionalities - designed to draw blood and skin film. Live long and diagnose!

5. Anti-Nightmare Stimulator

Lully wants to stop your children from having nightmares. Their device uses "vibration based technology" in a pod placed under the mattress, combined with a companion app. Treating night terrors is less about the bad dreams themselves, but rather the stage of sleep the child is in. It works to help children remain in a safe sleeping stage. After answering four questions about your child's night terror pattern, Lully learn the pattern - and then vibrates directly before the night terrors begin. It emplys a technique called "scheduled awakenings" which ensures that your child remains in a healthy, deep sleep, devoid of night terrors. It's nearly silent, and can be used in pretty much any standard bed or crib. Dare to dream, but perhaps Lully will make nightmares a thing of the past.

 

Entries for the 53rd annual R&D 100 Awards are now open! Click here for more information.

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