5 Cool Gadgets That Are Changing Health Science


By guest author Brian B.

It’s no secret that gadgets like computers, digital cameras and smartphones have changed our lives. Though there is some argument about whether the changes many of these devices bring are good or bad, there’s one group that is definitely changing our lives for the better, and that’s in the field of health science. Not every digital consumable can make us healthier, but here are five health science gadgets that do.

A Smartphone For Your Heart

Thanks to the Cardio Defender from Everist Genomics, your smartphone can now actually do something to keep your heart healthy. The Cardio Defender turns your smartphone into a portable ECG device that can keep a constant lookout for heart problems by detecting a variety of changes in heart rhythm that may indicate a problem. A sensor bracelet that resembles a watch collects data and beams it wirelessly to your smartphone, which analyzes and stores it. If a problem is detected, not only do you receive an alert, but the data can also be sent to your physician for instant analysis. If a problem doesn’t arrive, your doctor can still use the collected data to determine the health of your heart and approaching problems.

No word on price or availability.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ MedGadget ]

Hearing the Sunshine
You don’t have to be a medical expert to know that winter can be depressing, but researchers have identified the causes of foul winter moods and given the affliction the name Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Though cold weather may do its part to make you sad, the real culprit appears to be lower exposure to sunlight, which in turn affects brain chemistry and can cause depression. Now, there’s a health science gadget that can help alleviate SAD by directly showering the brain with artificial sunlight. The Valkee headset consists of a pair of headphones that beam a powerful ray of sunlight into the ear canal, which they claim is the most direct route for light to reach the brain. They claim (and although weird, test evidence appears to support this claim) that using the device for about ten minutes a day can reduce or even totally eliminate SAD symptoms in over 90% of people. If you’re one of those people who starts to feel down when the sun becomes scarce, health science may now have a convenient solution to the problem.

It’s about $290 and available now.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ OhGizmo ]

The Computer Can Finally Read Your Mind
Just because your computer often chooses to show it doesn’t respect you by developing problems at the most inopportune times doesn’t mean it can actually read your mind. But, thanks to a new gadget called the EPOC neuroheadset, developed by Emotiv Inc., now your computer really can read your mind. The EPOC is a headset device that contains several neurosensors that can detect brain activity. This information is sent to the computer wirelessly or via USB, where the data is analyzed. The data can be stored for later analysis by physicians and used to diagnose a variety of brain disorders, making the device an important health science tool. But, that’s not the best part about it. The amazing part is that through dedicated training, you can learn to control signals to the computer and actually control the computer mentally. The possibilities are virtually endless and it’s already being used by disabled individuals to perform tasks such as controlling a wheelchair and entering text into a computer. Let’s just hope the computer doesn’t teach itself to read all of our thoughts, which might make us the target of some terrible computer pranks.

It’s $300 and available to US customers only.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Universe Science Blog ]

No More Messy Cups
Drug testing in the workplace is something that more and more people have had to get used to. Even if you’ve never used an illegal substance in your life, there’s something about being forced to do your private business in a tiny plastic cup while a stranger monitors the happenings. Thanks to breakthroughs in health science, the plastic urine collection cup may soon be a thing of the past. Now there is a portable device that can perform drug testing with nothing more than a fingerprint scan. Developed by Interlligent Fingerprinting,the gadget collects a small sample of the sweat and oil contained in the fingers and analyzes it for traces of drugs. Not actual drugs mind you, but “metabolites”, a byproduct of the body processing the drug, making false positives much more unlikely. You wouldn’t get busted for simply putting your hand on a coke contaminated table, for example. Not only is this easier than the current lab testing, it’s also much faster, with the analysis taking only about ten minutes. If this device proves reliable, there’s a good chance you’ll soon see it used by police officers to test drivers for the presence of intoxicating substances.

There’s no mention of price, though the scanner should be available in 2012.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

It Watches What You Eat
When it comes to healthy lifestyles, it’s possible that you may think your habits are healthier than they actually are. Sure, you know that that fast food cheeseburger you ate for lunch yesterday was not the best choice, but it’s likely that you overlooked many other behaviors that aren’t healthy. What you need is a device that can keep track of your habits and let you see what you’re doing well and not doing so well. Now, thanks to a team of neurosurgery and engineering researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, such a gadget exists. The device is a disk-shaped pendant they are calling the eButton, which includes features like a camera, GPS, accelerometer and other data collectors to keep track of metrics such as the food you eat, your daily activity, how much time you spend watching television and other things that affect your well-being. The device can either be connected to a computer or connected wirelessly to a smartphone for data analysis. Though it is in the early stages of development, one day soon you could use this to keep track of your daily activities and help you develop a healthier lifestyle.

[ Press Release ] VIA [ Crave ]