Just yesterday I was discussing at a University of Trento master course how technology evolution is leading to disruptions in several areas. One of the areas I mentioned was health care.
In this area the sequencing of the genome is going to become a standard procedure for newborns in the next decades (and we will probably catch up…). This, in turns, will lead to an amazing wealth of data that can be mined and in perspective drugs are bound to become personalised based on that person’s genome. This is all well and good, since it comes with the promises of a much more effective cure and lack of unpleasant side-effects.
However, that pill tailored to us will not have been tested in clinical trial since it has been manufactured for us only. This brings the need of much better monitoring of its effect and of course such monitoring cannot require us to spend a week in a hospital.
A long introduction to say that we can expect a growing demand of wearable monitoring equipment, a completely new area since so far monitoring equipment have been designed to be used in a controlled environment and being bulky was not an issue.
Technology evolution, both in terms of sensors performance, low power requirement and very sophisticated signal processing, is going to provide more and more capabilities for personal monitoring.
This is where this news coming from the University of British Columbia, UBC, fits in.
Carlos D. Gerardo, a researcher at UBC -see clip-, has invented a ultrasound based detector that can be worn like a band-aid and whose sensitivity is au pair with professional ultrasound devices used in hospital.
The breakthrough has been made possible by the manufacturing of tiny vibrating drums – polyCMUTs (polymer capacitive micro-machined ultrasound transducers)- made with a special resins (replacing the piezoelectric crystals used today in ultrasound devices). What is nice is that the manufacturing process requires less steps than the one used today for silicon based drums and for piezoelectric ultrasound generators, resulting in lower cost, something crucial if one is targeting the mass market.
It is just another tiny step in the path that will transform the health care sector and disrupt its market place (and players).