Pacemakers powered by the heart

[tweetmeme] Back in 1899 we realized that by infusion of electrical pulse to the Heart in asystole caused a ventricular contraction and that a heart rhythm of 60-70 beats per minute could be evoked by impulses applied at spacings equal to 60-70/minute. What did we do with this information we created the Pacemaker, the pacemaker for the heart actually helps the heart in its normal function with a gentle helping hand for those who have week hearts. According to World Health Organisation data, 16.7 million people die each year owing to heart attacks, and pacemakers can help a lot of these patients.

It was only by the 1950’s that we were able to produce an implantable pacemaker. The problem of batteries and their charging and discharging is something that the patients that use them have to deal with. This has been an issue for which there have been only temporary solutions. Longer battery life, modulation in the working based on how much assistance is required etc is something that people are still experimenting with to get a long lasting pacemaker.

British scientists have successfully experimented to develop a heart-powered pacemaker. Until now, a pacemaker used the electrical impulses delivered by the electrodes from the heart’s contracting muscles to regulate the heartbeat, but the pacemakers and defibrillators of tomorrow could generate power from the heart itself.

At first glance, this idea seems somewhat impossible, like using the movement of an engine’s pistons to power a car and was made possible by British scientists who used a microgenrator in their experiment to successfully produce enough electricity from the heart to run the pacemaker. The microgenerator used is made of two individual liquid-filled balloons, which are placed at different locations within the heart, but remain connected to a silicone tube consisting of a moving magnet. The heartbeats press the balloons alternatively, forcing the fluid in it to move the magnet past the coil in the silicone tube, producing electricity in the process.

The team of scientists believes that the introduction of the heart-powered technology could enhance the utility of the pacemaker’s of today, as the usage of generated energy could be made to recharge the batteries of the pacemaker. The pacemakers could also generate energy through the flow and movement of the blood, heat differentials or physiological pressures, apart from the tested induction version. Using this energy to recharge pacemakers or defibrillator batteries a will make them last longer, and so increase the intervals between the invasive surgical procedures needed to replace them. Heart implants typically communicate details about their performance to other medical equipment via a wireless link, so the new generator could also allow them to transmit more data.


Reality from fiction : Fabric that deflects bullets (Indian again)

[tweetmeme] Remember The Matrix? When Neo asks Morpheus if he was trying to tell him that he could dodge bullets and Morpheus replies “No Neo. I’m trying to tell you that when you’re ready, you won’t have to.”

If engineers at the Centre for Advanced Materials Technology, University of Sydney, have their way, then soon the cops of the world could all be attempting a Matrix scene. If not stop the bullets in mid-air, they can surely bounce them off their bodies.

Till today, bulletproof gear that cops across the world use is made up of multiple layers of Kevlar, Twaron, Spectra (Thanks Guybrush) or Dyneema fibers which offer blunt resistance to the brutal force of a bullet. They tried to stop bullets from penetrating by spreading the bullet’s force. But the people who use them can still be left with severe bruising or, worse, damage to critical organs.

The new material, however, not only stops bullets but deflects them, rather than absorbing their force. The study by engineers at the Centre for Advanced Materials Technology, University of Sydney, is published in the Institute of Physics’ journal Nanotechnology. The elasticity of carbon nanotubes means that this so called “blunt force trauma” may be avoided, say Prof Liangchi Zhang and Dr Kausala Mylvaganam. The Indian and Chinese duo who have help fortify the argument that Innovation does not happen only in the west.

The teams’ testing was done on Carbon nanotubes in the dimensions of 0.7 nanometers in thickness & 7.5 nanometers in length. Bullets made out of Diamond were fired at 1000 to 3500 meters per second at the target material and the fabric successfully bounced the bullets off of its surface. Now if diamond bullets could not make it through, then I doubt if anything else will. Engineers claim that 6 layers of such yarn, which would be about 600 nanometers thick, would be sufficient to design a fabric for practical purposes.

To say that this technology is amazing would be a gross understatement. It could prove invaluable in fighting terror across the planet.Just hope the Bad guys are not wearing the same.


Whats so tech about a Window ?

[tweetmeme] Well for starters, it’s no ordinary window. Phillips in their quest for simplicity and providing innovation for the “end Users” as they call all their customers have come up with various demos of what they want to be implementing. I did write about one of this technology earlier, i.e. movable skin tattoos; but getting back to the windows.

I am not sure if words can justify how good this technology might be in hotels and the cool factor for people living there. So check out the video below:

Phillips has this to add:

The hotel industry is dominated by large chains that provided consistent service, but often lack a personal touch. Luckily, the rise of private, theme-oriented hotels is ushering in a new age of hospitality, one in which guests control virtually every aspect of their stay. New applications of technology will empower customers and provide them with better, more comfortable surroundings in which to relax and re-energize after a long journey. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if travel across time zones was stimulating, rather than draining, fun rather than tiresome? Imagine what it would be like if your hotel was not just a temporary roof over your head, but a journey of the senses. Imagine being able to stimulate your senses with sound, light and imagery, day and night. Imagine a room whose very uniqueness leaves you refreshed, energized and ready for the new day.

I can think of something to add to its applications, All of us look for a window with a view, now imagine a scenario where you can have a Niagara falls view or a Burj Khalifa view or a beach sunset view right in your home. Well that would be pretty cool right ? I mean you would not need to invest millions of dollars in getting a perfect view home, but can recreate it within your existing home, by investing in this technology.

Augmented reality ? yes of course it can add-on information from the outdoor world overlay-ed on a layer over the ambient window, providing information like weather latest news etc. In fact it could even replace your TV with some modifications, let your imagination go wild with this one 😉

What if tattoos were changeable … ???

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I mentioned how I am finding it difficult to decide on a tattoo, and in my quest to find a great design had led to dead ends so far. However, the quest is still on.

One of the biggest fears is the fact that, we need to know what it looks like, I mean it might look good on paper but in reality it might not really look that good. So well we can turn to technology then, I mean its there to make our lives easier. Fortunately, computer graphics artist Loic Zimmermann has developed a program that will allow users to get a look at what a complex design might look like on a 3D figure. If this technology catches on, the possibilities for pushing the art form are obvious. What if you can check on the tattoo and what it would look like before trying it on ? Well here is the answer to that question.

The biggest fear in getting a tattoo is the it might sound like a good idea at that time, but then later it might not really represent you as a person. Technology is the way to go, Phillips the guys who gave us nearly every consumer electronics device (prototypes at least) have a solution to this as well. A prototype of the Skin : Tattoo from Phillips is here. Check out the video below.

Philips Design examined the growing trend of extreme body adornment like tattoos, piercing, implants and scarring. The Electronics Tattoo film expresses the visual power of sensitive technology applied to the human body. The film subtly leads the viewer through the simultaneous emotional and aesthetic transformations between two lovers. Check out the Phillips Design Webpage here.

Another solution is detailed at New Scientist, here is the article below :

If you are planning to express your undying love for someone with a tattoo, you might want to wait a little while before going under the needle. New inks that are safer to use, and far easier to remove should you have a change of heart, are set to be launched next year.

The US Food and Drug Administration has no standards for the safety of dyes used in body art. Carbon black, metal salts and other compounds more commonly used in printing or car paint are among those used. Heavy metals and other toxic chemicals in these pigments can seep into the lymph system, says Martin Schmieg, president of the company Freedom-2 in Philadelphia, which is planning to introduce a range of dyes that have already been approved by the FDA for use in cosmetics, food, drugs and medical devices.

Such dyes have not been used in tattoos before as they are readily absorbed by the body. To get round this problem, Rox Anderson at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston has developed a way to encapsulate the dyes in protective polymer beads just 1 to 3 micrometres in diameter. This is small enough to allow them to be injected into the skin and absorbed by skin cells to form a tattoo.

The pigment can be removed with a single laser treatment. This splits the beads open, dumping the dye into cells where it is absorbed. The tattoo then quickly fades away, in stark contrast to standard tattoo pigments. Applying a series of up to 10 laser treatments can usually bleach them, but only half of tattoos can be completely removed.

Check out the article in New Scientist here.

Glasses to people for cheap

Most people online would have heard about TED and the videos, if you haven’t I strongly suggest to you guys. The future of the world in sorts is being made there, from Design to technology. As they mention on their site:

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with the annual TED Conference in Long Beach, California, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK, TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Program, the new TEDx community program, this year’s TEDIndia Conference and the annual TED Prize.

My first brush with Augmented Reality also was on the TED site. Well this post is not about Augmented Reality, but about providing vision glasses to a lot of people. The idea is by visionary Josh Silver who talks about using oil filled glasses and by adjusting the liquid in the glasses will be able to provide universally usable vision glasses to all. See the talk here below for the actual details.

While watching the video, I noticed how he mentions that there are about 30,000 of these glasses in use today. So I desided to check on what material was available on the usage of these glasses worldwide. The center for vision in the developing world has a map showing where its being used.

How does it work ? Well here is a sketch that was on gizmodo which explained it, here it is.

There is also a video on Vimeo Explaining the actual working and benefits of these glasses, including a small explanation on the “Ugly” looks of the glasses.

Although this is not a technological breakthrough of sorts, but it is a sign that someone is doing some good work. somewhere. AdSpecs might just be what the doctor ordered in developing countries showing how technology is impacting people’s lives world over.

Robots that can snatch jobs from us

Emotional Robots

Emotional robots are robots who can read human facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language to determine the emotional state of the person addressing them. The robot can then simulate an appropriate emotional response using its own tone, facial expressions, and actions. For example, if a person is upset the robot can be soothing. They are being developed in research labs, and have been deployed in a limited way in some hospitals in the US and Japan. Two of the more famous emotional robots are Kismet, developed by roboticist Cynthia Breazeal at MIT, whose facial expressions might be crude but are nevertheless very effective; and the Actroid series of robots developed by Hiroshi Ishiguro at Osaka University in Japan.

Emotional robots are ideally suited for a number of working-class or retail jobs. They will work in hospitals and homes as caretakers, eliminating those jobs for humans. Emotional robots will also take over receptionist jobs and retail work in many stores. They are incapable of becoming angry or upset when customers yell at them or make strange demands. If a customer is upset, the emotional robot will always act sorry and mean it.

Surgeon Robots

Surgeon robots are just what they sound like – a pair of robotic arms equipped with a camera that can conduct surgeries with precision and speed that no human could ever muster. They have already been used successfully in several surgeries. Sometimes the robot arms are controlled by a human, but several successful surgeries have been performed by robots operating autonomously.

Surgeons might be eliminated, or will be turned into technicians rather than exalted mega-doctors. This goes to prove that robots don’t just threaten the jobs of regular working people – they will also eliminate professional middle-class jobs too. Or they will turn formerly high-paid, highly-trained surgeons into skilled labor like forklift operators. The advantage with them is the fact that the emotional aspect that a doctor might have while operating someone, will be eliminated.

Brain Computer Interfaces

Brain computer interfaces (BCIs) are any piece of technology that allows your brain to control a computer directly. One of the most famous examples of this technology is BrainGate, a device that plugs directly into your brain and carries electrical signals from it to a computer. People who use BrainGate are able to control a computer cursor, which has allowed people who are completely paralyzed to communicate again by moving a cursor over a virtual keyboard and typing out words. Future kinds of BCIs will operate wirelessly. One example of wireless BCI was an experiment done on a rat who could be remote-controlled from a distance when operators sent electrical signals to the parts of his brain responsible for directing his body left or right. Often called the “robo-rat,” (see video below) this creature demonstrated that BCI works both ways, wirelessly: You can send signals from your brain to a computer, and send signals to somebody’s brain too. Can someone see the Matrix ??

Brain implants could change the jobs of machine operators. Operating heavy machinery might move from being a physical job to being a mental one. You could use your brain to control a robot who is digging up a fuel tank, or laying cement. Other jobs that might be profoundly changed are entertainment-industry related. Cameras and sound systems could be brain-controlled, possibly allowing for new kinds of camera work that will be more crazily vivid than anything we’ve seen before. Either way, people trained on the manual systems for industrial machines and cameras will have to learn to use BCI or get downsized.

The Quacks of Dubai

It has been long a topic of debate, the medical facilities and the responsiveness of doctors especially in Dubai. I am still scared to go to the DOC in Dubai, I have a ligament that is over stretched and needs help, i am working with medication and some crape bandage. Reading the article below makes it even more difficult … I lost my dad in a cardiac aliment in Bangalore where I was certain the doctors tried everything. But here in Dubai it would not normally be the case, so I can really understand what the family would have gone through. My heart goes out to the family. My humble condolences to Shaila, her sisters and her Mom.

What use are all these discoveries and new methodologies in the field of medicine, if staffs lack basic code of conduct and are negligent beyond words to describe? … What do you call these people … a bunch of Quacks !!!

One day when I was feeling unwell, I decided to take medication on my own to treat my illness. Since it did not subside I decided to go see a doctor at a clinic. The doctor reprimands me saying ‘Have some respect for our profession. What are we doctors sitting here for, if you decide to treat yourselves?’.

Now what will you say, if you have a patient who is in the ICU of a government hospital, recovering from surgery, who complained right from day 1 post surgery of his uneasiness and pain, showed no signs of his condition improving like other patients after their surgery and yet the nurses were not bothered, didn’t insist on following up with the doctors. All this of done in spite of the helpless family members requesting for help !!!

This same patient prior to surgery was an active, healthy and bubbly man, who only had a heart block and needed heart bypass surgery based on doctor’s advice. From a healthy man he was butchered to become a vegetable. What will these same people do when it comes to their families and loved ones … butcher them ????

This is what exactly happened to a man who was a loving husband to a wife and a father to three children. He left his life totally in the hands of the staff’s who turned out to be heartless and cruel in the name of humanity. In his pain he went over and above to do anything the doctors said though it caused him severe discomfort. An innocent life was lost due to the negligence of the nurses at the Intensive Coronary Care Unit of Dubai Hospital.

The patient Mr. Valerian Joseph Pinto underwent Cardiac Bypass Surgery on 23rd March 2008. On 25th March, he was shifted to the Intensive Coronary Unit. The patient suffered from Bronchial Asthma and the nurses never attended to the patient or called for the doctors until the relatives had to alert the nurses of his condition and the Chest Physician was only called the next day in spite of him having breathing problems and being dyspneic. The patient had not slept the entire night. His condition was not diagnosed properly as the Chest Physician didn’t do a regular follow-up to monitor recovery.

The patient insisted on calling doctors as he was suffering from gas problem and breathing difficulty and no action was taken until family members insisted. Repeatedly the nurses kept saying ‘this is what patients go through, we have cases like this’. They never monitored his intake and output. Patient never passed stools 4 days after the surgery. Being an ICU, care was not taken in proper monitoring. If this is an ICU, where are the dedicated nurses for the patient? Do you generalise all patients saying this is normal, even after he complains he is unwell?

The canola was improperly inserted into the left-hand artery causing the medicine to flow outside into the flesh leading to swelling of the hand and the palm and discoloration. The swelling disfigured the left-hand and numbed the thumb, index and middle finger which resulted in the blood getting clotted. This also the family member had to notify the nurses to check. They called the on-call duty doctor to insert the fresh canola. He received a phone call and left the patient there. During this time the nurses were experimenting pricking the canola on the right hand thereby puncturing all the veins. After unsuccessful attempts, they called the Anaesthesia Doctor who came from a surgery and he could not find any artery and confirmed that all are punctured and went off.

There were no IV lines on either hands and they didn’t even start the central line. For 2 days the patient was not given Lasix to help him urinate. This led to urine being accumulated within the system. The patient complained he was restless and had severe perspiration. Did any nurse check on this or call the doctors?

One member of the family wanted to be with the patient overnight to help him as he was completely immobile but the nurses chased us out saying that visiting hours are over and ensured that the security guard was there till we left. The patient had even received doctor’s approval for a family member to stay overnight, but it went to deaf years of the nurses and the nurses chased us out.

The right medication was not given on time and his case was generalised like all the other bypass cases but Mr. Pinto needed extra care since he developed complications. All we kept hearing from the nurses is that ‘we get cases like this’. Our question to the hospital is – are all cases generalised like this? Would these same ruthless people say this if it was their husband, father or brother?

The nurses had a very unwelcoming nature. Hours before he breathed his last , it was a case of emergency but the attitude of the nurses showed pure carelessness. A case of emergency was handled in the midst of three patients who had already undergone open heart surgery and were in recovery. Equipments were not brought in on-time. The seriousness of the matter appeared like a joke to them. The nurses in the room were laughing and portraying cold behaviour when a human was fighting for his life. They were unaware of where the equipments were kept and were moving here and there to find the medication. The General Physician wanted to take an x-ray of the patient’s stomach; there was no portable x-ray machine available at the time.

The night (29 March) before the patient passed away he was very restless and uneasy and kept pressing the bell calling out to the nurses for attendance, as he was desperate and needed to see a doctor. First the nurses would take their own sweet time to attend and after some time they would disconnect the bell so that the patient does not disturb them. In his time of need he was not able to request for help as the bell was disconnected during the night.

After the patient passed away, not a single nurse offered condolences to the grieving family members and continued their cold hearted behaviour. There was no compassion towards patients. This is nothing but butchering a human being. From a lively person who only had a heart block, after the surgery they made him a complete vegetable.

Such inefficient people cannot be a part of an ICU Team. They were neither proactive nor reactive but very sloppy. They paged doctors 3 times and since there was no response, they didn’t follow up. Is this how you treat an emergency?

The cardiac surgeon put the patient on the ventilator; there was no anaesthetic doctor available. They waited for the heart beat to drop till action was taken. Moreover, they are no on-call doctors available. Life support was not given on time.

Oral medication was given instead of supplying through the IV line. IV was stopped as all veins were punctured in both hands.

For one ailment of the patient they complicated it all and caused him to suffer by not providing the right medical aid. The nurses were highly inexperienced who are not aware of the stock the ICU owns. E.g. Flatus tube

We saw the inexperience of hospital staff in treatment, service and reaction of nurses and doctors in handling and treating patients. Right from the male nurse who
delivered the mobile ventilator few minutes before the patient died to the so-called Doctor who wrote the Death Certificate. The nurses were cold hearted. The nurses were not aware whether a flatus tube was available when the cardiac doctor enquired.

When we asked the doctor what was the cause of death, he verbally confirmed saying its Pulmonary Embolism and on the death certificate he wrote the cause as Cardiogenic Shock which is completely different. Till date the hospital has not reverted on the complaint lodged. It took them 6 days to end a life and they need a life time to investigate.

You may investigate and try to cover up your positions but mind you the Lord God up above will not let you cover your position on the day of our eternal judgement.

We lost a loved one in the hands of Quacks.

– Grieving Family of Late Mr. Valerian Joseph Pinto