Coming Soon! Printed Body Parts
Most of us have grabbed a tissue as we watched some of the amazing videos showing the surprise and wonder on children’s faces at hearing the voice of their parents for the first time. The advent of Cochlear implants, the surgically implanted device that brings hearing to the deaf has had a profound impact on this population group.
Within the next ten years, we can expect to see exciting advances in these emerging technologies!
- 3D Bone Printings: This cutting edge medical technology uses polymers, similar in mechanics to bones. Layers are placed on top of each other using a digital CAD file to build the piece of replacement bone unique to each specific patient. While this technology is currently in use, expect to see widespread availability over the next few years, especially in the field of dentistry.
- Techno Eyewear: A microchip implanted directly into a patient’s eye will act as a bridge between damaged nerve endings allowing the blind to “see” through a pair of glasses. An external video processing unit links the technology. While the retina in our eyes contain millions of “light converters” that transform light into visual image and this new technology has less than seventy, great strides are still needed to improve the quality of the image and color, as images currently appear in black and white. But for someone who is unable to see, the ability to distinguish objects is a huge first step towards independence.
- Anti-Bleeding Gel: This creamy, vegetable based product instantly stops the flow of blood and promotes clotting when applied to a wound. The product is available to veterinarians starting the summer of 2015, and while additional study is needed before it is approved for use in humans, it has exciting and life saving implications for the military and first responders.
- Tailored Medication: Scientists have been developing a personal medication to target a patient’s specific disease based on their unique genetic makeup. This is especially significant since research has shown that a one-size-fits-all medical treatment plan is often ineffective in halting the progression of disease.
- Bionics: Impressive advances have been made in the use of bionic body parts, especially arms and legs, and additional breakthroughs are being made in the area of implantable chips that act as a neurological bridge in the brain allowing a patient’s thought process to transmit directions to paralyzed limbs. Smart limbs will not only be able to move, but “sense: as well, as scientists are developing embedded nerve intelligence technology that could provide a sense of feeling to artificial prosthetics.
Other exciting devices on the horizon are wearable diagnostic tools for both patients and the health care industry that will allow for the diagnosis and monitoring of conditions such as heart conditions, diabetes and depression.