Medicine is a discipline which is as old as society itself. Hippocrates, largely considered the father of modern medicine, died almost 400 years before the birth of Christ. For as long as human beings have been falling sick, other human beings have taken it upon themselves to cure them… And it’s safe to say that the road of healthcare technology has endured some gruesome twists and turns (from trepanning to release demon spirits from the head to lobotomies) it has seen its fair share of wonders too.
Today the advent of digital technology combined with an unparalleled mastery of chemistry has yielded a plethora of fascinating technologies with an astounding propensity for saving lives and gradually revolutionizing the field of medicine.
Whether you’re looking to startup a new medical tech business, looking for somewhere to invest or simply interested in new technologies, here are some technologies to watch in the field of medicine…
3D printing has been applied with enormous success in a range of industries from heavy manufacture to aerospace. Its ability to create extraordinarily detailed and precise parts and components make it an extremely useful tool.
It stands to reason, then, that it should easily find numerous applications in the medical industry, not least the 3D printing of prosthetic parts as well as fully 3D printed internal organs.
Parylene Conformal Coating
As the healthcare industry leans harder and harder on electronic and digital devices, it’s more essential than ever to ensure that these devices work effectively and predictability. As more and more lives come to depend on them, and as medical devices become smaller and more compact, the need has arisen for new technologies to ensure that medical devices work efficiently while also being safe for use within the body.
Medical device coating using parylene helps devices to maintain thermal stability and dielectric barrier protection. It may be a subtle technology, but it’s nonetheless one that helps to save lives.
From chatbots and virtual assistants to video games we see AI everywhere we look these days. Needless to say, enterprising medical minds have found a number of practical uses for AI in the field of healthcare.
AI is already hard at work in the claims processing sector, facilitating faster claims to prevent administration from hindering the healthcare process. It can also aid diagnostics, and help physicians to construct courses of treatment by parsing historical data and employing pattern recognition to reduce the risk of “false-positives”.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Just a few decades ago VR was the stuff of science fiction, and a point of fascination for Hollywood which churned out speculative pieces from The Lawnmower Man to The Matrix. Today, however, VR and AR are no longer the stuff of sci fi nor are they strictly confined to obvious industries like video games and entertainment.
As well as helping physicians to train through simulated procedures, it is also an increasingly common treatment solution for a wide range of conditions including the treatment of chronic pain and recovery from traumatic brain injuries. It has even been used in the treatment of Autistic Spectrum Disorders and has proven effective in helping partially sighted patients to partially some of their sight.
There was a time when the pestle and mortar were considered the peak of medical technology. Who knows what new technologies will further transform healthcare in years to come?
The year 2019 is expected to bring with it some exciting scientific breakthroughs which could be of enormous benefit to the public if they can be developed to their full potential.
From DNA, through to space, thanks to scientific investigation, our understanding of these subjects continues to develop further. As our everyday lives are packed full of technology, it should come as no surprise to see that technology is aiding the advancement of science to help with a variety of issues. Equipment such as the new chip seq can be used to speed up scientific processes in the laboratory. Meanwhile, robot surgeons could increasingly be utilized further for performing operations; these are just some of the ways that technology will help to move science forward in 2019!
Here are just some of the scientific advancements that could be happening this year:
Quantum Computing is set to be both a substantial scientific and technological breakthrough that should be happening in 2019. So what makes Quantum Computing so good? Well, instead of using binary to process information, quantum algorithms are used instead. The use of quantum algorithms makes for a much powerful computer. This means that Quantum Computing could be the ideal tool to aid future scientific discoveries and to assist technological breakthroughs.
Researchers at Cornell University have developed a system for editing the human genome. This new system, known as CRISPR-Cas3 has recently been tested on human cells for the very first time.
The CRISPR-Cas3 system could be a massive breakthrough in the fight against disease. The system can be used to erase illness from the human genome, and could potentially be used to remove diseases such as Hepatitis B from DNA.
Immunotherapy is currently used in the treatment of certain cancers, but continued research means that immunotherapy could be used on an increased number of cancers. Further research would also help to reduce the amount of side effects associated with the treatment. Continuing development in immunotherapy should eventually mean that it can be used to treat a range of tumors with fewer side effects to help a far more significant number of patients than at present.
3D printing is of course not a new phenomenon, but it is a technology that continues to develop further rapidly. New uses for 3D printing are continually being tested creating further advancements and opportunities to utilize this popular technology further still.
Significant developments in 3D printing in 2019 are already well underway. One hugely important development so far is a 3D printer replicating a human heart. However, this is not the first time that a human heart has been created through the use of a 3D printer, but it is the very first time that a whole human heart has been recreated. Although the heart created was on a small scale, it featured blood vessels, chambers, ventricles, and cells, making it a scientific first with lots of opportunity for the development of potentially life-saving 3D printing.
One of the great paradoxes of technology is that we are always looking for ways to simplify our lives – whether that be at home or in business. And yet, often the simplest solution requires years of innovative thought to get there.
At its heart, simplification is about finding the most efficient way to solve a problem. It minimizes the number of steps it takes to reach a certain goal while minimizing the risk of things going wrong. But while in some cases simplification might be a case of getting things to run more smoothly (like adding a cable carrier to a pulley system to avoid snagging), in many cases, simplification requires the stripping back of a current solution and rebuilding to new specifications.
Interacting with Technology
One of the main difficulties people have with technological solutions is working out the best way to manage the system. At the very beginning of computing, ever instruction required someone to type in the correct code. This was a simple solution at the time but it just shows how we have progressed.
The simplest form of communication is a conversation. We do it all the time and barely have to think about it. Speaking comes naturally. This is why we are now using voice recognition technology for more and more things. Instead of using a remote to turn on the TV or speakers, you simply ask the computer to do it for you.
Speaking to a technology is a really efficient way to work as it comes naturally and is a quick way to give a complex instruction as opposed to programming using text. As long as the technology understands your accent, that is! But working as efficiently as possible isn’t going to be easy.
As technology grows more and more efficient, the next step, getting the next 1% is always going to be much harder to achieve because it may not be as obvious what you should do. Indeed, you may realise that as your efficiency grows, you need to change your tactics to advance further.
Asking the Right Questions
Of course, the real trouble with simplification is working out which questions to ask. What is it that makes a particular technology appear to be simple when another so complex? Where is the divide and how can you solve the problem? There are 100 questions you could ask but the most important one is this: what would a child expect to do?
Thinking from the perspective of a child will always bring you to the most intuitive route. Looking at how a child interacts with their world has already influenced major tech brands like Apple whose simplification is renowned with just one button and a touch screen. But once you know what you want to achieve, you’ll need to put a lot of complex work in to make it happen.
Behind every iPhone, there is years and years of experimentation. The simplest technologies are always doing all the complex work behind the scenes. This is why simplification is always complex. You can’t just make something happen: you have to hide the process too.
Eco-friendly home tech solutions are still carrying a stigma from when they first emerged. They generally required a big capital outlay and many years to earn the cost back. However, eco-friendly house technology has been developing at a rapid rate, and there are now many solutions that provide decent savings for a much smaller initial investment. With energy prices slowly creeping up, and eco-friendly tech prices dropping, we’re now at the point where the savings can far outweigh the cost.
Below are some modern solutions worth considering for your home.
What most people think about solar panels is now completely outdated. While big solar panels are still available, you can now replace some of your existing roof tiles with ones that produce electricity. They’ll feed the power directly into your home, and you’ll only use power from the main grid when solar power is depleted. Modern solar panels are much more efficient, and many states offer subsidies or tax breaks for those spending money in an environmentally friendly way.
Briquettes are a great way to turn waste into eco-friendly high calorific fuel. They are an efficient way to produce energy. A large percentage of the waste we produce will end up at the dump, and briquetting offers homes a way to be proactive about recycling their waste into something they can use to generate electricity and save money. You can read more about briquetting here if you want to find out more. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a great way to save money and cut down on the number of resources you use, too.
Using older inefficient appliances can greatly increase the energy and water usage of your home. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the U.S. Department of Energy have set up the Energy Star program to help consumers. Selecting an Energy Star appliance every time you replace one of your old appliances is good for the environment and your wallet. All products with the Energy Star rating must meet strict standards for efficiency and energy consumption.
Backyard Wind Turbine
These miniature versions of full-size wind turbines are becoming an increasingly popular way to reduce energy bills. The tech is dependent on the average wind speeds in your area, as most turbines need an average speed of 5mph or more to generate a meaningful amount of electricity. Residential wind power is unlikely to provide all the electricity you need to run your home, but it can supplement the amount you need to draw from the mains, reducing your energy bills.
Solar Hot Water Heater
Heating a huge tank of water can be costly. Water tanks are insulated to try to maintain the temperature for as long as possible, but they’re still not the most efficient system. A solar hot water heater will use the suns energy to heat the water instead. Many of them also use a backup system to ensure that if the solar energy is depleted you still have hot water.
All of the above systems can be integrated into a home still connected to the mains grid, so homeowners never need to worry about not producing enough power. They can just sit back and look forward to far lower energy bills.
It is important to make the most of the online opportunities that present themselves but at the same time, you need to protect your systems from cybercriminals. The Internet gives businesses the chance to reach a wider audience and to use international suppliers that could save time and costs. However, it also brings risks of scams and other security issues with it.
Security has always been a problem for land-based businesses but most of them now have effective measures in place. If you have a business and are concerned about the security of the computer systems of your premises, here are a few suggestions that might ease your mind.
Physical Premises Security
Technology is helping to secure physical premises more than it ever has dome before. For instance, CCTV cameras can now be fitted that you can view on your smartphone wherever you are. They can even raise an alarm so that you know when to view them and then you can call the police if you need to.
You also need to know that during opening hours only people that should have access can enter your premises. The CCTV can help with this, you could employ a security guard or you could issue all your workers with custom printed name badges, which you can find out more about if you click here. Most businesses with a physical presence tend to use a combination of more than one of these measures to protect their staff and their inventory.
There are several different ways of implementing online security but the one thing that is a must regular backup of your systems. You can set your computers to do this automatically so that it does not get forgotten. You should also install any update that comes from your software suppliers as often these are to stop a security issue they have found.
You need to educate your staff to never open an email that is not from a trusted source as this is a favorite way of hackers gaining access to your systems. They should delete them straight away and never under any circumstances open a link in one of these emails.
Some of them look very convincing but you and your staff need to remember that banks and government agencies will very rarely email you and if they do they will never ask for personal details.
Passwords should be changed regularly and should be difficult to replicate. Hackers have programs that can sift through many thousands of passwords every hour and if yours are dates of birth or names of some sort, these programs are very likely to find them.
It really does not matter whether you are an online or offline business where fraudulent payments are concerned. There are only so many checks you can do when someone is paying you by card and unfortunately credit and debit cards are stolen all too often. Where these payments are concerned you should refuse them is there is even some tiny you are not happy about as you could be saving yourself some money.
It’s not something that you hear about all the time, but there is, well, a lot of people on the planet. A mind-bending amount, in fact, if you compare it with any other point in history. It took humans 200,000 years to reach two billion people, which happened in in the early 20th century. In the space of one hundred years, we jumped up to seven billion. Let that sink in — 200,000 years to go from one to two billion; one hundred years to go from two billion to seven billion. And those numbers are still going up, too. Though experts things that the number will begin to plateau at around nine billion people, there’s really no well to tell. They’re just guesses. Now, there’s nothing to say that there’s anything inherently wrong with their being so people. So long as everything’s moving in the right direction, then everything’s good! But, of course, that’s not the case — there are issues with their being so many people, some of which are here now, some of which will arrive in the future.
Below, we take a look at some of these problems, and the potential solutions.
It would be fine if humans were living a carbon neutral lifestyle, which they were doing for nearly all of human history. But that all changed with the industrial revolution. With planes, trains, and automobiles connecting the world, and lights and heating upping the comfort of our homes, many of us are living a lifestyle that’s unsustainable for the planet. The world is generally shifting to a more industrialized world, too, with many countries who haven’t been polluters in the past suddenly contributing to the carbon output.
The more people there are, the more pollution there is. Luckily, a solution for this issue may not be so far away. Battery powered cars, for example, will radically reduce the levels of pollution that gets tossed up in the atmosphere.
Damage to the Environment
It’s not just in our cars where we cause damage to the environment. After all, the vast majority of the world don’t, for various reasons, drive — but they’re not carbon neutral. That’s because everything we do has a consequence, though of course, some actions have consequences that are greater than others. If all seven billion of us consume, consume, consume, and don’t think about our plastic usage, then the world will suffer. The good news is that many governments are beginning to pass anti-plastic legislation, and introduce more effective recycling processes too. For humanity to have a reduced impact on the earth, these slow seeds of advancement will need to start growing fast.
We live in a deeply unequal world, that should be obvious to anyone who is paying even the slightest bit of attention. Some areas, such as the west, live relatively free and stable lives. People in other countries do not, or, rather, cannot — if you’re subjected to war, or famine, then you need to move, to anywhere that’s better. The more people there are on the planet, the bigger the problem this is. There are people who avoid helping refugees because they think their country is full. It’s a case of there being more people on the move, fewer people willing to take them in. The solution to this is a move towards a more equal world — but that takes time, and is it even possible?
Food Sources and Growth
The primary conversation surrounding the effects of overpopulation is to do with that one thing we all need: food. The more people there are on the planet, the less food there is to go around. And with climate change making it more difficult to grow crops in areas that have always been able to grow crops, the problem may rear its head sooner than we might think. Fortunately, this is an area where there are reasons to be hopeful. Things like Atlantic salmon farming and lab-grown meat will help to provide a source of healthy food in a sustainable way. Another option, one that’s admittedly quite out there by modern tastes, is that we’ll soon be getting protein from a food source that can be grown quickly, has limited impact on the environment, and can be tasty — insects. Don’t be surprised if you see insect dishes on the menu in hip restaurants in the not too distant future!
An Increase in Disease and Poverty
Humans have come a long way when it comes to disease management in recent years, but overpopulation is beginning to bring with it new threats. Disease develops and spreads much faster in densely populated areas. With more people living in the cities, people are living closer than ever before. Similarly, while there’s been a gigantic — actually, miraculous — decrease in poverty in the past few decades, the more people there are in the world, the more unemployed people there will be.
Ultimately, there is no great problem with there being so many people — inherently. All the people in the world can fit inside New York City, after all, so it’s not like we’re all struggling for space. The issue, therefore, isn’t about the number of people, but how those people live. If we want to be able to do whatever we want, all the time, then we’re going to run into trouble — the earth did not evolve with that in mind. Conversely, if we can work together and find a way to create a sustainable way of life, then these issues will quickly fade into the background.
It’s pretty awesome that there are so many of us on planet earth, all trying to do our best. And while there are, obviously, issues we need to keep in mind when it comes to the number of people on earth, humans have, generally managed to weather the problems that have plagued them in the past. We might soon begin to think of the number of people not as ‘overpopulation,’ but simply ‘the population.’