As technology advances in our everyday life, so too does the world of medical technology. Medical technology affects the population at large; medical professionals and technicians, patients, students and researchers, as well as the general community.
So what can we expect in the next five years from medical technology?
Google, the giant internet search engine, is working on a digital contact lens project that will substantially change how doctors and patients can manage diabetes. The digital contact lens will make use of tears to measure level of glucose, or blood sugar levels, in the patients’ blood. Transmitting the results from the lenses to an app helps patients and doctors keep regular and immediate measures, allowing for any serious issues to be acted upon instantly.
On the other hand, Microsoft is working on a project named Hololens. The technology will enable surgeons clearly see through structures in the human anatomy like blood vessels, heart, uterus, liver and kidneys. As a result, they’ll be able to carry out surgical procedures with greater precision, without necessarily opening up the affected or adjacent structures.
Not to mention, the Hololens allows students to observe anatomy without actually delving into a cadaver.
Powered prosthetics and exoskeletons
Exoskeleton suits will enable people who’ll be partially paralyzed to walk again.
Recreating natural sensation and enhancing the accuracy of motor control will create communication between the brain and prosthetics in real time. Within the next five years, scientists could design devices that can imitate the movement of limbs.
Advancement in 3D printing will contribute to the manufacture of medical equipment, drugs as well as prosthesis.
In regenerative medicine, 3D printing could play an important role in the creation of body tissues, including but not limited to; organs such as natural skin, bones, synthetic skin, heart valves and ear cartilage.
With open source engineering as well as affordability, 3D applications in the field of medicine will be exceptionally beneficial, and accessible.
Cyborgs? Quite possibly!
As above, the rapid advancements of technology and prosthetics thus far make it believable in the not-so-distant future for cyborgs to perhaps be more of a reality. 3D printing of prosthetics, or internal organs…and suddenly biomechatronic and organic parts in the same person seem achievable.
Portable diagnostics and medical tri-coders
Diagnostic procedures will shift towards portable devices, and it will allow patients and medical professionals to perform diagnostic procedures outside of medical centres.
Already, surgeons are using robots for less invasive surgeries. As the robots are controlled by remotes, the mind boggles about what will be next for surgical procedures and robots; is it possible to have a surgery occur across the globe from where the controller sits?
Although robots may not completely take the place of surgeons because of their limited adaptability and versatility, as they develop and progress with the rest of the medical technologies, they’ll become more integrated into the surgical teams.
Although at the moment body sensors are perhaps not affordable, it could be possible for anyone to wear the tiny 1mm sensors. They have the capacity to collect data about the wearers movements and measurements, without necessarily interfering with normal routines.
Projected advancements in vaccine refrigeration
Manufacturers of medical refrigerators will definitely embrace and take advantage of the rapid advancement in medical technology. In the near future, medical refrigerators will boast of high-quality cabinet-construction, chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-free insulation as well as thick walls to ensure temperature stability. These features also minimize energy consumption.
The medical refrigerators will consist of auto-defrost cycles sensitive to both temperature and time, with automatic removal of condensation to minimize equipment downtime.
Forced circulation of air (monitored and directed) will help maintain standardized temperature at every point inside the medical refrigerators. This feature will also ensure prompt temperature recovery whenever the doors are opened and closed.
Roll out drawers as well as self-closing doors will allow users to conveniently view and gain access to vaccines and other products.