In the 21st century, scientists have come steps further to a flawless understanding of how the human mind and body function. These discoveries have inspired the creation of inventions that operate with goals like assisting the body in day to day activities as well as listening to and providing positive feedback to the mind. These five inventions demonstrate how much we can accomplish when scientific knowledge of the human condition informs medical treatments.
Up first is LEVL, a small machine that non-invasively measures the concentration of acetone in our breath when we exhale. Researchers wrote in a study published in the Global Journal of Obesity, Diabetes, and Metabolic Syndrome that “breath ketone (acetone) is the ketone of choice for detecting early stages of ketosis”. LEVL presents information about our rate of weight loss in real-time using a nanosensor. We no longer have to wonder whether we are losing water, muscle, or fat because LEVL reflects the body’s current state of fat burn. For under fifty dollars a month, users can check their acetone levels throughout the day: while they are exercising, or before and after meals. In this video, scientist Joe Anderson, Ph.D. explains how the metabolic process works.
Equally inventive is RELIEFBAND, a device worn on the wrist that was designed to help relieve nausea and vomiting. A study published in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer tested the product on patients undergoing chemotherapy. The results showed that while wearing the band, occurrences of nausea and vomiting were significantly reduced.The Reliefband can also be used to soothe dizziness caused by using virtual reality technology. It works by sending gentle electrical pulses to the vagus nerve, located at the pressure point on our wrist. This nerve has an intimate connection with the part of the brain that is responsible for nausea relief and participation in our parasympathetic nervous system. Check out ReliefBand’s video describing how it works. RELIEFBAND is currently selling for less than one hundred dollars.
My personal favorite health invention was created by composers and neuroscientists. MELOMIND speaks for itself. Released in 2015, this product was designed for just about anyone to use. However, in a 2015 study conducted by researchers Ramirez, Palencia-Lefler, Giraldo and Vamvakousis, measurements were taken of electrical activity in the brains of elderly participants as they listened to their favorite type of music. Results of the test showed that depression symptoms improved in the majority of participants as they “directed” their emotional state to either speed up or alter the tempo or loudness of the music. So, these are not your average headphones — using electroencephalogram (EEG) technology in the form of detachable electrodes, MELOMIND measures the brain’s electrical reaction to the music, and then delivers a personalized playlist targeted to soothe us when we are stressed. Included with purchase of the product is an app that features step-by-step coaching and software that allows you to track your progress. This video explains more in-depth how MELOMIND works with the body. By supporting the company’s project in the form of a monetary pledge, you can receive a pair of headphones (plus a t-shirt and stress ball!)
Created in Japan this decade, HAL is a robot suit that can conform to and support each individual’s body type. The suit communicates with the brain via bio-electric signals that are measured on the surface of our skin. HAL assists users with bodily movements by first measuring the sort of motion that is intended by the wearer. Then, HAL automatically adjusts in order to support the body in producing the intended movement. The intention to move is communicated to the limb via signals from the brain, while the simultaneous movement of the suit encourages the brain to “learn the feeling of walking”. Over time, the causal relationship between movement and signals to the brain enable people to exercise their limbs in a way they once were unable to. Best “suited” for those in need of hybrid assistive limb(s), HAL was designed for both medical and non-medical uses.
Used in conjunction with an invasive procedure are the Nano Retina eyeglasses. These futuristic shades are made by a company located in Israel and are suited to treat retinal-degenerative diseases. Before the glasses are worn, an implant is inserted above the retina. The procedure takes less than an hour. The Nano Retina glasses use 3DNi technology, which features hundreds of microelectrodes communicating with the other retinal cells around them. After calibrating individual visual preferences, the implant communicated with the glasses via Wi-Fi. The visual field can then be experienced based on fine-tuned light settings that can be modified by the user.
Thanks to modern scientific progress, medical technology is becoming more widespread and user-friendly. Scientists are creating technological products that can treat nausea and vomiting, measure the rate of fat burn, counter stress with music, and give the gift of sight back to those who lost it. Although many products target those with specific medical histories, other products are being geared toward the general public. In the future, more products like these will be easily accessible and found in the home.