Wearable Artificial Lung to Be Developed

Picture: University of Pittsburgh

With the support of a $3.4 million National Institutes of Health grant, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh will develop an artificial lung to serve as a bridge to transplant or recovery in patients with acute and chronic lung failure.

“Our wearable lung will be designed to get patients up and moving within the hospital setting, which is important for both patient recovery and improving a patient’s status prior to a lung transplant,” said principal investigator William J. Federspiel, William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering and director of the Medical Devices Laboratory within the Pitt-UPMC McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Current long-term breathing support modalities include extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (EMCO)—a cardiac and respiratory technique in which blood is drained from the body, oxygenated outside of it, and returned to the bloodstream. The drawback to EMCO is that it can significantly limit a patient’s mobility and, while mobile ambulatory EMCO systems are beginning to be used clinically, these systems involve unwieldy equipment.

“This project will develop a compact respiratory assist device called the Paracorporeal Ambulatory Assist Lung—known as PAAL—to replace the old techniques,” said Federspiel. “This is a wearable, fully integrated blood pump and lung designed to provide longer-term respiratory support up to one to three months while maintaining excellent blood compatibility.”

The PAAL device will complement recent efforts by the University of Maryland (which developed a wearable artificial pump-lung) by potentially improving the efficiency of the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide and increasing biocompatibility, Federspiel explained.

Federspiel’s colleagues on the project include William R. Wagner, director of the McGowan Institute as well as a professor of surgery, bioengineering, and chemical engineering in Pitt’s School of Medicine and Swanson School of Engineering; Christian Bermudez, assistant professor of surgery in Pitt’s School of Medicine and associate director of the cardiothoracic transplant division at UPMC; James Antaki, professor of biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University; and Greg Burgreen, associate research professor of surgery at Mississippi State University.

Federspiel also is a founder and equity holder of Alung Technologies, a Pittsburgh-based medical start-up company, which provides advanced respiratory support solutions. He joined the University of Pittsburgh faculty in 1995 after receiving his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Rochester.

Source: University of Pittsburgh

iBeat and Dr. Mehmet Oz To Launch Lifesaving Smartwatch

Mehmet Oz, called America’s Doctor by many, has joined with health tech startup iBeat to launch a breakthrough heart monitoring smartwatch that empowers people to live longer lives. The partnership with Dr. Oz will kick off with pre-orders for its iBeat Life Monitor – a watch that continuously monitors one’s heart for life threatening emergencies and notifies loved ones and emergency responders in such an event. A world renowned leader in cardiothoracic surgery, a transplant surgeon, and holder of eight patents, Dr. Oz has saved thousands of lives both in the operating room and by educating his millions of viewers. After seeing the massive impact potential of the iBeat technology in their San Francisco headquarters, Oz invested, partnered with, and joined on as Special Advisor to the company.

“The iBeat Life Monitor was designed to continuously measure and monitor one’s heart and potentially prevent fatal heart incidents,” said Dr. Oz, seven-time Emmy Award winning host of the nationally syndicated “The Dr. Oz Show.” “This medical-grade device not only provides users with a sense of safety and control over their own heart health – which is vital in the treatment and prevention of heart failure – but also allows their loved ones and family members to take a more observant role in their care as well. To make a positive impact on the health of others, I’ve learned that we need to make it easy to do the right thing. This device is not only a technological breakthrough that will be more effective than anything on the market, it fits into a person’s wardrobe with style and ease, making it simple to integrate its lifesaving properties in one’s everyday routine. As Special Advisor, I look forward to raising awareness around preventing life-threatening heart issues and highlighting a device that can truly save lives.”

The iBeat Life Monitor differentiates itself from other wearables on the market by continuously monitoring and analyzing user’s heart activity and instantly detecting the signs of oncoming cardiac arrest (a sudden cessation of heart function). If the device detects a life-threatening heart emergency, it will engage the user and ask if he or she is ‘OK.’ If the user selects ‘No’ or is unresponsive, iBeat will instantly alert the user’s loved ones and emergency responders in real-time, helping ensure immediate care delivery and potentially saving the user’s life.

The iBeat Life Monitor does not need a cell phone, mobile app, Bluetooth connectivity, or Wi-Fi to function. The device is fully cellular, while built-in GPS ensures the user’s loved ones and first response teams know exactly where the user is in an emergency. In such an instance, emergency contacts will get a text with a link showing where the user is and where they are in-transit so they can meet them at the hospital or nearby care center. Users will also have access to an online dashboard where they can see their daily, weekly, and monthly overall heart health (beats per minutes, heart pattern changes, etc.) and compare it to others within their age range. The device is also equipped with an Emergency-On-Demand button which, when long-pressed for two seconds, will allow users to reach out to their emergency contacts, or if needed, 911.

While the watch is primarily targeted at baby-boomers, especially those who live alone, and individuals with existing heart conditions, the device is receiving notable interest from younger adults and millennials who have parents and grandparents that could greatly benefit from the device. iBeat has already raised $1.5 million in funding from private investors and is looking to establish the market for the iBeat Life Monitor through pre-orders, as well as support the tooling and production line needed to bring the device to the masses.

“The early interest we’ve seen in iBeat has been remarkable,” said Ryan Howard, founder and CEO of iBeat. “We are excited to bring our device to the Indiegogo platform to drive even more awareness around the product and its ability to potentially save someone’s life. If you suffer a life-threatening heart incident such as sudden cardiac arrest, you have a 90% chance of dying without intervention. There are many devices on the market including diabetic monitors, heart-rate monitors, and other health monitoring solutions, but all these devices only passively monitor you. None of them actively monitor and analyze your heart health around-the-clock like the iBeat Life Monitor. Continual monitoring and quick intervention can mean the difference between life and death in emergency situations.”

Source: iBeat

Battery-Free Wearable Patch Can Help Monitor Health

A battery-free electronic patch that sticks onto skin like a temporary tattoo can be powered wirelessly by smartphones to help monitor health, researchers say.

Now researchers have developed a stretchable, wearable ultra-thin device that can not only wireless transmit health data, but also is wirelessly powered via near-field communication transmissions. Smartphones, tablets and other consumer electronics use near-field communications with the Apple Pay and Android Pay wireless payment schemes.

The battery-free nature of this patch makes it five to 10 times thinner than comparable gadgets, says study leader John Rogers, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Full story is available from IEEE Website.

Flexible wearable electronic skin patch offers new way to monitor alcohol levels

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a flexible wearable sensor that can accurately measure a person’s blood alcohol level from sweat and transmit the data wirelessly to a laptop, smartphone or other mobile device. The device can be worn on the skin and could be used by doctors and police officers for continuous, non-invasive and real-time monitoring of blood alcohol content.

The device consists of a temporary tattoo—which sticks to the skin, induces sweat and electrochemically detects the alcohol level—and a portable flexible electronic circuit board, which is connected to the tattoo by a magnet and can communicate the information to a mobile device via Bluetooth. The work, led by nanoengineering professor Joseph Wang and electrical engineering professor Patrick Mercier, both at UC San Diego, was published recently in the journal ACS Sensors.

“Lots of accidents on the road are caused by drunk driving. This technology provides an accurate, convenient and quick way to monitor alcohol consumption to help prevent people from driving while intoxicated,” Wang said. The device could be integrated with a car’s alcohol ignition interlocks, or friends could use it to check up on each other before handing over the car keys, he added.

“When you’re out at a party or at a bar, this sensor could send alerts to your phone to let you know how much you’ve been drinking,” said Jayoung Kim, a materials science and engineering PhD student in Wang’s group and one of the paper’s co-first authors.

Blood alcohol concentration is the most accurate indicator of a person’s alcohol level, but measuring it requires pricking a finger. Breathalyzers, which are the most commonly used devices to indirectly estimate blood alcohol concentration, are non-invasive, but they can give false readouts. For example, the alcohol level detected in a person’s breath right after taking a drink would typically appear higher than that person’s actual blood alcohol concentration. A person could also fool a breathalyzer into detecting a lower alcohol level by using mouthwash.

Recent research has shown that blood alcohol concentration can also be estimated by measuring alcohol levels in what’s called insensible sweat—perspiration that happens before it’s perceived as moisture on the skin. But this measurement can be up to two hours behind the actual blood alcohol reading. On the other hand, the alcohol level in sensible sweat—the sweat that’s typically seen—is a better real-time indicator of the blood alcohol concentration, but so far the systems that can measure this are neither portable nor fit for wearing on the body.

Now, UC San Diego researchers have developed an alcohol sensor that’s wearable, portable and could accurately monitor alcohol level in sweat within 15 minutes.

“What’s also innovative about this technology is that the wearer doesn’t need to be exercising or sweating already. The user can put on the patch and within a few minutes get a reading that’s well correlated to his or her blood alcohol concentration. Such a device hasn’t been available until now,” Mercier said.

Full story can be found from University of California San Diego website.