Healthcare tech: Solar-powered prosthetic skin provides sense of touch

April 6, 2017 Tom Connon

Future Tech: Plus...biometric-authenticated toilet paper & a touch-screen triage nurse.

New skin for prosthetic limbs allows user to ‘feel’ without previously required battery

New prosthetic skin allows user to ‘feel’ without previously required battery

From BBC News:

A synthetic skin for prosthetics limbs that can generate its own energy from solar power has been developed by engineers from Glasgow University.

Researchers had already created an 'electronic skin' for prosthetic hands made with new super-material graphene. The new skin was much more sensitive to touch but needed a power source to operate its sensors. Previously this required a battery but the latest breakthrough has integrated photo-voltaic cells into the skin.

Dr Ravinder Dahiya, from the University of Glasgow School of Engineering, said: "The real challenge was 'how can we put skin on top of photo-voltaic and yet allow light to pass through the skin?' That's what we have done." The skin uses graphene, which is about one million times thinner than paper and is currently the world's strongest material.

Its optical transparency allows about 98% of the light that strikes its surface to pass directly through it making it ideal for gathering energy from the sun to generate power. ... "When the skin is placed on a prosthetic hand and the amputee then touches an object they are able to feel the contact pressure as well as temperature."

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Facial recognition required for TP in China

Facial recognition required for toilet paper in China

From The Verge:

Biometric authentication is moving from phones to laptops and onward to... public bathrooms. Chinese authorities in Beijing are now combating a toilet paper stealing epidemic by locking the supplies away behind a dispenser powered by facial recognition software, according to a report from The New York Times.

The unorthodox method ensures that the public bathroom at the Temple of Heaven Park disposes only a small amount of paper — approximately two feet in length — for each person once every nine minutes, following an initial face scan to store the identity of the user. The change marks the first time in a decade the park has taken such drastic measures to reduce its chronic toilet paper theft.

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Can this self-serve kiosk actually replace a triage nurse?

self-serve kiosk triage nurse

From Engadget:

It takes your weight, blood pressure and pulse oximetry within three minutes.

If you think that the march of automation isn't going to affect jobs in the medical profession, then, uh, you better sit down. A Belgian company called BeWell is showing off WellPoint, a self-service kiosk that's designed for patients entering hospitals or clinics. The WellPoint is a touchscreen-enabled booth that operates as a first port of call for visitors, quickly checking your basic vitals before you see a medical professional.

According to BeWell, initial contact with a nurse where your blood pressure, pulse oximetry and weight are tested takes seven minutes. Then, of course, there are an additional few minutes when that nurse takes that data and enters it into the hospital's internal IT system. WellPoint, by comparison, can do it in three minutes and instantly update your medical records.

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About the Author

Tom is a previous small business owner/operator and now has over 17 years of telecom experience. As a Portfolio Manager he specializes in product/service development, managing technical workforces and Customer/Segment Marketing. Outside of the office, Tom can be found shuttling his kids around from Lacrosse, hockey and ringette practices at a rink near you.

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