Jake Evill, a recent graduate of the School of Design at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, has created the ‘Cortex Cast’, a fully ventilated, super light, shower friendly, hygienic, recyclable and stylish exoskeleton and his design is absolutely beautiful. It's a breath of fresh air to a tired old medical device. Ville's take on casts can be compared to Bespoke Innovation's take on prosthetics where both designers consider aesthetics, comfort (including fit and breathability), and unique manufacturing techniques in their innovative new approaches. "Unlike the stinky plaster casts that we’ve begrudgingly become accustomed to, the cortex cast allows in plenty of airflow to prevent that itchy, uncomfortable feeling. The cast is also far less bulky, allowing the patient to still easily wear a long sleeve shirt.
In my continuous quest to advocate products that help improve people's lives, the SurroSense Rx by Orpyx is a self-monitoring device for diabetics with peripheral neuropathy that automatically tells the user when damage is being done to the feet...a common problem with the ailment. An insole with 8 pressure sensors collects data that is wirelessly transmitted to a wristband to tell the user when damage is being done to the feet. I just wish the watch design was less high-tech looking and more consumer/fashionable focused. Here's how they describe SurroSense Rx: "The patented SurroSense Rx is a high-tech, pressure-sensing insole and wristband that tells the user when damage is being done to the feet. The product is designed to mitigate diabetic foot complications, such as ulceration, infection and amputation. One of the main problems with diabetic peripheral neuropathy is that, when someone is affected with it, he or she is unaware when pressure thresholds are being abused. The result is tissue damage, leading to ulceration, and often, amputation.
The SurroSense Rx collects pressure data from the foot and wirelessly sends that information to the user via an ergonomic wristband-based display. The display alerts the user when damage is being done so that behavior can be changed and these devastating complications can be avoided." Continue reading at Orpyx.
The product will be ready for purchase by late 2012.
[gallery] A group of students from Simon Fraser University have developed a concept to help improve the lifestyle of the visually impaired in a meaningful way through one of the most important senses for visually impaired: touch. Point Locus is a way finding garment. The project consists of an electronic vest that communicates with a GPS unit and a simple language of vibration signals that are fed through two vibrating pager motors located on the triceps. The vibrations provide directions that help you navigate through your environment.
The team developed the project by interviewing visually impaired members of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. During the interviews, individuals with impaired vision expressed to the team a desire for greater independence. Currently, traveling long distances or through unfamiliar locations was an insurmountable burden, forcing them to ask for help from people with vision, or use transportation going directly to their destination. Such direct transport was expensive, and rare, making it unreliable. Visually impaired users are already able to navigate their immediate surroundings very well, but run into issues when it comes to targeting places, and being aware of where they currently are the farther they go.
With the team's solution, the visually impaired will be able to perform long distance way finding, and travel to both far-off and unfamiliar places without assistance, while still using their familiar tools such as white canes and guide dogs to navigate through their immediate space.
[gallery]There's an emerging trend focused on a new aesthetic of wearable medical devices that are beautiful, fashionable, functional, and ultimately celebrate an ailment rather than hide it. Afterall, if you have to wear one why make it look like a "medical device"? Here are few of my favorites that are paving the way toward aesthetically fashionable personal wellness: Bespoke Fairing™ are specialized coverings that surround an existing prosthetic leg, accurately recreating the body form through a process that uses three-dimensional scanning to capture the unique leg shape. But Fairings not only return the lost contour, they invite an expression of personality and individuality that has never before been possible.
Lanzavecchia + Wai design disability aids that become a stage to discuss, understand and cope with disability, illness and human frailty. Their designs create a bridge between the user and producer aiming to open the possibilities and new values that these vital body accessories can bestow upon the user.
Leah Heiss, in collaboration with Nanotechnology Victoria, has developed a range of jewelry with therapeutic properties, including functional insulin applicator jewelry for diabetics.
[gallery]Health and body monitoring is a hot topic these days, which is what designer Petr Fiala is exploring with his Rehabilitation Bracelet. The bracelet monitors patient health and keeps doctors continuously informed. I would love to see the product in action and I'm curious what the software experience is. Nonetheless, this is an intriguing start.
"Designed for PRINCIP to aid disabled people, the bracelet comes built in with a USB connector and memory card to update the progress or condition of the patient. The device, as indicated by its name, can be worn around the wrist like a bracelet, which other than keeping check on the practice honesty of the user also becomes a fashionable accessory for the trendy." Continue on Design Buzz.
Images from Design Buzz.
This week, Sprint, announced a partnership with BodyMedia, a company that develops wearable fitness technologies, which will expand the wireless carrier’s product portfolio to include embedded devices. BodyMedia develops body monitoring and weight-management systems, and currently offers several devices that track activity levels, calories burned, and sleep patterns, all in an effort to help consumers lead healthier lives.
The companies say Sprint will be the exclusive wireless provider for BodyMedia’s new line of FIT Armbands with embedded wireless capabilities, as well as the company’s future wearable body monitors.