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Category Archives: Medical

Johns Hopkins U. Students Develop Low Cost Handheld Braille Writer

low cost braille reader

By David Ponce

It’s not easy being blind. Especially when you’re trying to, say, send a letter. Typical Braille typewriters are pretty expensive, though of course, there’ also computers. But both of these are a lot more expensive than the $10 prototype handheld Braille writer device developed by a team of undergraduate students from Johns Hopkins University. As you can see from the picture, the device consists of a handheld puncher and a plastic guide. The writer depresses the appropriate combination of buttons and the related pins extend to create an indentation on the paper when pressed against it. Because the buttons are close together, one finger can depress more than one, thus making it unnecessary for you to have six-fingered hands.

The students estimate that if it were to be mass produced, the unit could easily retail for as little as $10.

[Low Cost Handheld Braille Writer]

handSteady Drink Stabilizer

handSteady (Image courtesy Popgadget)
By Andrew Liszewski

The handSteady cup holder was designed by Chris Peacock to allow persons suffering from uncontrollable hand tremors to drink from a glass without the fear of spilling or dropping it as a result of their condition. The cup is held in a simple but innovative shock absorbing mount that allows the liquid in the glass to remain calm even while being held by someone experiencing tremors.

The handSteady has already won two design awards for its innovative solution to the problem and has been officially endorsed by the UK National Tremor Foundation. At the moment the designer is hopeful the handSteady will be manufactured and available for purchase by 2008.

[handSteady] VIA [Popgadget]

Company To Release MyTobii P10, An Eye-Tracking PC

mytobii p10By David Ponce

Stephen Hawking might just have gotten yet another lease on life with the MyTobii P10, a portable computer that does not require any form of tactile input; instead, it relies on precise eye-tracking technology.

Tobii is a Swedish company that bills itself as the world leader in eye-tracking hardware and software. The P10 is particularly interesting as it does not require the use of any specialized equipment: simply sit in front of the computer, look at a calibrating dot for 30 seconds, and you’re on your way. The device works in many lighting conditions, and does not get confused by large head movements. Hell, it’ll even work if you wear glasses.

This is great for people suffering from disabilities, like ALS, MS or cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, this degree of sophistication will set you back $17,000. Perhaps it’s covered by insurance?

[MyTobii P10] VIA [Xataka]

$10 Hand-Held Braille Writer

Hand-Held Braille Writer (Images courtesy Johns Hopkins University)

By Andrew Liszewski

A group of four mechanical engineering students at Johns Hopkins University have come up with a cheap hand-held braille writer as a result of a class project that challenged them to create such an instrument for under $50. Computer-based and even typewriter-style braille writers are typically far more expensive and far less portable than what these students were able to create.

The hand-held braille writer is completely mechanical and the students estimate the device will cost about $10 each if mass-produced. It uses 6 buttons that can be pressed to produce any of the embossed patterns that make up a braille letter, number or punctuation mark. The device is used with a traditional braille slate that has a series of rectangular cells that blind persons typically use a stylus with to punch up to 6 indentations one at a time. The student’s hand-held device can punch up to 6 marks at once which remarkably speeds up the braille writing process.

[$10 Hand-Held Braille Writer] VIA [medGadget]

DryEar – Swimmers Ear Eliminator

DryEar (Image courtesy Hammacher-Schlemmer)By Andrew Liszewski

The DryEar was designed by Dr. Hamilton Collins who is apparently a well-known ear, nose and throat specialist to help combat Swimmers Ear and other ear infections. Since they’re normally caused by excess moisture that remains in the ear after bathing or water sports the DryEar delivers a gentle 80-second stream of warm air directly into the ear canal theoretically drying them out.

The DryEar itself is a compact unit that can fold away for easy storage or travel and thankfully includes four color-coded earpieces so it can be safely used by multiple family members. The DryEar is currently available from Hammacher Schlemmer for $99.95.

[DryEar Swimmers Ear Eliminator] VIA [UberGizmo]

Bang & Olufsen Stethoscope

Bang & Olufsen Stethoscope (Image courtesy Medicom)By Andrew Liszewski

Bang & Olufsen apparently has a subsidiary called Medicom solely devoted to designing and developing products for the medical industry. One of Medicom’s innovations that has already made it to the market is the E3000 Stethoscope which is currently sold under the 3M/Littmann brand.

The E3000 uses proprietary Ambient Noise Reduction technology to cancel out roughly 75% of unwanted noises in the room. However that’s usually not enough since these noises can also travel through the patient’s body. The ANR on the E3000 listens to both the ambient noise in the room as well as in the body and cancels the two out leaving just the important sounds from the heart, lung and other vital organs for the doctor to hear.

[Bang & Olufsen E3000 Stethoscope] VIA [Medgadget]

Nail Trepanation Made Easy With The Pathformer

nail trepanation pathformer

By David Ponce

There you go. What better way to start the day and enjoy your coffee/breakfast than by looking at some gross medical pictures? Huh? This sight for sore eyes is a nail being Trephinated (aka trepanated, etc) by the Pathformer, a tool specifically designed for this task. Trepanation is the act of drilling holes, basically, and it seems that if you smash your nails real hard, and get subungal hematoma (black toe), it might do you some good to do just that. The little holes allow the pooled blood to pour out and relieve the painful pressure.

The Pathfinder

creates a microconduit in skin or nail within a specified depth range. The scissioning tool continually measures the resistance with reference to a skin electrode. This ensures the halting of the procedure when the lowering resistance reaches a preset value.

Fully open pathways can be painlessly scized (cut) through the stratum corneum of the skin or the nail. Microconduits, 300-500 microns in diameter, are produced within seconds and without sensation.

[Patherformer Website] VIA [Medgadget]

Acu-Point Pen

Acu-Point Pen (Image courtesy SkyMall)By Andrew Liszewski

Depending on where you stand in terms of the actual benefits of acupuncture this may seem like the greatest device ever or you may choose to spend your money on a big box of placebos instead. Either way I’m definitely no expert on acupuncture or for that matter really know the first thing about it besides seeing it performed once in a cartoon so I won’t jump to any conclusions.

That being said the Acu-Point pen apparently uses specially designed electronic acupuncture probes which can simulate a traditional acupuncture treatment in the comfort of your own home. Using the built-in LCD screen you can diagnose ailments or pinpoint specific areas of your body that are cause for concern simply by passing the Acu-Point pen over your palm. The power of 2000 years of ancient Chinese medicine is also powered by 2 AAA batteries which are included.

The Acu-Point Pen is currently available from Gadget Universe for $99.95.

[Acu-Point Pen]

Spenco MTB Heat Wave Glove

Spenco MTB Heat Wave Glove (Image courtesy Spenco)By Andrew Liszewski

Here I am feeling guilty for sitting at a computer all day and worrying about the inevitable carpal tunnel syndrome when it turns out that even those living an extreme lifestyle like off-road mountain bikers share the same risks.

Typically after a long trek off-road riders can experience numbness in their hands due to constant vibrations from the bike rattling the carpal tunnel or median nerve in their hand. The MTB Heat Wave glove helps drastically reduce the amount of vibration hitting this nerve thanks to strategically placed gel pads.

The Spenco MTB gloves with this patented ‘Shock-Tek’ technology currently come in 3 versions. The ‘Trail Pro’ which is a standard model, the ‘Heat Wave’ which is designed with extra ventilation for warm days and the ‘Cold Snap’ which has additional fleece lining for those cold spells. Depending on the specific size or model the MTB gloves all run between $30-40.

[Spenco MTB Heat Wave Glove] VIA [Popular Science]