Antibiotics changed the fear that came with run-of-the-mills illnesses and vaccines opened us up to preparing for the worst…. and even today, medicine is constantly evolving, bringing us new advances by the day. While we have already come so far in our fight to make the world a healthier, happier place, it is still just a drop in the bucket of where medicine is headed.
The future of healthcare is here and, thanks to four high-tech inventions and groundbreaking discoveries – tomorrow… we just might be living longer and aging far better than we ever expected. From life that imitates art and brings space-aged technology to the real world – to robotic helping hands that may be on their way to a hospital near you very soon, check out these sneak-peeks into the world of modern medicine and what it might mean for the future of healthcare technology.
Trekky-Inspired Tricorders for an Inter-Galactic Healthcare Experience
The battleground of the world’s brightest minds and best ideas, Qualcomm’s XPrize awards $10 million to a deserving inventor, helping them to turn their prototype into reality. One of the most impressive things coming out of Qualcomm is a Star-Trek-ish medical tricorder that may be less fiction and more fact within the next few years. Imagine that!
On the show, the Trekky tricorder was used to uncover the components of living things, navigate new terrains and record foreign data. Qualcomm believes that this real-life version of the tricorder could be even more useful, helping to diagnosis disease, store all a patient’s medical data… and it would even contain a sensor scanner that would possess various capabilities. Bringing the medical experience into the future, the tricorder would diagnose and monitor diseases like never before, ensuring that patients received better, more accurate care quicker.
Jetsons-esque Robotic Nurse Brings All New Meaning to Bedside Manner
Before you frantically try to wrap your head around the idea of a robotic nurse tending to your medical wellbeing… take a deep breath. The future of nursing is still completely human – only with a little help. Every year, thousands of nurses are injured on the job. Most injuries occur when a nurse is attempting to lift patients who need assistance with walking or after emergent falls.
The RIBA, Robot for Interactive Body Assistance, developed by Tokai Rubber Industries and RIKEN, is taking steps to solve this very real problem and making the workforce a safer place for nurses (and patients) everywhere. The RIBA is not only fully functioning as a patient lifting device, but it is also quite adorable. However, for hospitals who aren’t up to Jetson-speed (and not ready for a full-on Rosie-esque robot), other companies have constructed strap-on lifting devices that essentially hook-on to the side of a nurse, helping him or her to lift without injury.
Learning from Fish Genetics to Rebuild Teeth Naturally
Hey, parents. Halloween just got a lot less scary. A brainy collaboration from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Kings College London led to the discovery that a certain fish may hold the key to rebuilding teeth naturally – no dental work needed. This is great news considering that by age 74, 26% of the population will have lost their permanent teeth in their entirety.
The study explored a special species of African fish who has been found to possess the ability to sprout new teeth, even after a permanent one falls out… time and time again.
“The exciting aspect of this research for understanding human tooth development and regeneration is being able to identify genes and genetic pathways that naturally direct continuous tooth and taste bud development in fish…” says Paul Sharp, study participant and research professor at King’s College.
“The more we understand the basic biology of natural processes, the more we can utilize this for developing the next generation of clinical therapeutics, in this case how to generate biological replacement of teeth.”
Though still an idea in its primitive phases, the discovery of this fish may lead to many more years of smiles for people everywhere – no dentures or dental implants necessary.
Futuristic Germ-Zapping Lighting May Change the Way We Heal by Changing Where We Heal
Hospitals are great healers… but, without a doubt, they also great infectors. Riddled with infectious diseases, hospitals are notorious for staph strains that can be deadly in those with an already weakened immune system. Because of this, hospitals must always be on the frontlines of keeping staph and other bacteria at bay…
And now they are not alone in their fight.
The first of its kind, Indigo-Clean is seeking to change the way that we heal by helping the very light that illuminates hospital rooms to kill bacteria on surfaces. This futuristic idea would work much like a “scientific bleach” as germs absorb the light which excites inner molecules. This inhibits the germ’s ability to repopulate, creating a clean, healthy environment in which to heal without the fear of additional problems.
The future of medicine is bright. The world of tomorrow is going to be a world where healing happens in all new ways, quicker and more advanced than ever before. As we journey toward the future ahead, it is exciting to see what is just around the corner and what else there is yet to be discovered. Here’s to the future of healthcare and to living longer, healthier and happier lives… all thanks to technology and the people who work so hard dreaming it up.