The Promise of Miraculous New Medical Devices

A new research institute out of MIT wants to bring the power of new computing to bear on medical devices, creating non-invasive tools to monitor patients and test new drugs faster. 

What's the Latest Development?

A new initiative out of MIT is looking to use cutting edge computer technology to revolutionize medical devices. Called the Medical Electronic Device Realization Center, or MEDRC, the project has identified five specific areas of future focus: "These include noninvasive tools to gather internal bodily data; better ultrasound; wearable devices that monitor vital signs; devices to produce faster results for clinical blood, urine and saliva tests; and better ways of extracting useful information from tests." Already under development is a non-invasive way of measuring cranial pressure, essential for those at risk of stroke, and a more accurate ultrasound test which, for example, could measure tumor growth over time.  

What's the Big Idea?

As national and global life expectancy has increased over the last several decades, individuals have come to require more sophisticated medical care later in life, meaning the need for medical innovation will continue to grow. "The microelectronics industry has changed computation, communications and consumer electronics in a big way,” says Charles Sodini, a co-founder of the MEDRC. "The medical device industry looks like one the microelectronics industry could affect as well." Improved medical devices may also aid in monitoring how drugs affect patients, bringing them out of clinical trials sooner and into the open market. 

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