Archive for September 28th, 2012

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Portable Device to Diagnose Malaria – Down to Specific Mutations

Portable Device to Diagnose Malaria – Down to Specific Mutations

Portable Device to Diagnose Malaria – Down to Specific Mutations

A pioneering mobile device using cutting-edge nanotechnology to rapidly detect malaria infection and drug resistance could revolutionise how the disease is diagnosed and treated.

Around 800,000 people die from malaria each year after being bitten by mosquitoes infected with malaria parasites. Signs that the parasite is developing resistance to the most powerful anti-malarial drugs in south-east Asia and sub-Saharan Africa mean scientists are working to prevent the drugs becoming ineffective.

The €5.2million (£4million) Nanomal project – launched today – is planning to provide an affordable hand-held diagnostic device to swiftly detect malaria infection and parasites’ drug resistance. It will allow healthcare workers in remote rural areas to deliver effective drug treatments to counter resistance more quickly, potentially saving lives.

The device – the size and shape of a mobile phone – will use a range of latest proven nanotechnologies to rapidly analyse the parasite DNA from a blood sample. It will then provide a malaria diagnosis and comprehensive screening for drug susceptibility in less than 20 minutes, while the patient waits. With immediately available information about the species of parasite and its potential for drug resistance, a course of treatment personally tailored to counter resistance can be given.

Currently for malaria diagnosis, blood samples are sent to a central referral laboratory for drug resistance analysis, requiring time as well as specialised and expensive tests by skilled scientists. Additionally, confirmation of malaria is often not available where patients present with fever. Very often, drug treatments are prescribed before the diagnosis and drug resistance are confirmed, and may not be effective. Being able to treat effectively and immediately will prevent severe illness and save lives.

The Nanomal consortium is being led by St George’s, University of London, which is working with UK handheld diagnostics and DNA sequencing specialist QuantuMDx Group and teams at the University of Tuebingen in Germany and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. It was set up in response to increasing signs that the malaria parasite is mutating to resist the most powerful class of anti-malaria drugs, artemisinins. The European Commission has awarded €4million (£3.1million) to the project.

Nanomal lead Professor Sanjeev Krishna, from St George’s, said: “Recent research suggests there’s a real danger that artemisinins could eventually become obsolete, in the same way as other anti-malarials. New drug treatments take many years to develop, so the quickest and cheapest alternative is to optimise the use of current drugs. The huge advances in technology are now giving us a tremendous opportunity to do that and to avoid people falling seriously ill or dying unnecessarily.”

QuantuMDx’s CEO Elaine Warburton said: “Placing a full malaria screen with drug resistance status in the palm of a health professional’s hand will allow instant prescribing of the most effective anti-malaria medication for that patient. Nanomal’s rapid, low-cost test will further support the global health challenge to eradicate malaria.”

The handheld device will take a finger prick of blood, extract the malarial DNA and then detect and sequence the specific mutations linked to drug resistance, using a nanowire biosensor. The chip electrically detects the DNA sequences and converts them directly into binary code, the universal language of computers. The binary code can then be readily analysed and even shared, via wireless or mobile networks, with scientists for real-time monitoring of disease patterns.

The device should provide the same quality of result as a referral laboratory, at a fraction of the time and cost. Each device could cost about the price of a smart phone initially, but may be issued for free in developing countries. A single-test cartridge will be around €13 (£10) initially, but the aim is to reduce this cost to ensure affordability in resource-limited settings.

In addition to improving immediate patient outcomes, the project will allow the researchers to build a better picture of levels of drug resistance in stricken areas. It will also give them information on population impacts of anti-malarial interventions.

Clinical trials of the device are expected to begin within three years, after which it will be brought to market. The technology could be adapted afterwards for use with other infectious diseases.

Nanomal is developing a low cost device to address a real market need for full malaria diagnosis from sample to result in under 15 minutes at the patient’s side. We’re taking complex DNA analysis and simplifying it for use by health workers from all types of backgrounds and healthcare environments. By integrating diagnostics with cell phone technology we’re also able to support health workers in not only diagnosing and prescribing the right anti-malarial but also to support educating their patients at the time of consultation and remotely in their homes and at work.

OUR TECHNOLOGIES

DNA Extraction and PCR

DNA extraction

QuantuMDx has created a simple solution for on-chip DNA extraction and PCR that is capable of performing the lysis and extraction of malaria DNA from a pinprick of blood and then amplifying up the malaria DNA regions of interest, via an on-chip thermal cycler, ready for detection. This process, which normally takes a number of hours in a regular laboratory, takes minutes with Nanomal technology.

Diagnostic biosensor

Diagnostic Biosensor

QuantuMDx’s novel nanowire based biosensor detects the binding of the regions of malaria DNA of interest to probes immobilized on the surface of the array of nanowires. This detection is based upon the DNA’s innate electrical charge which means there’s no fluorescence, no optics and no light. This allows Nanomal to miniaturise the processes of a complex laboratory into a handheld which will be the first time this has been achieved. The biosensor then converts the electrical signal straight into binary code, the universal language of computers. As we use standard CMOS produced computer chips, the Consortium is able to bring down the cost of complex malaria diagnostics into the low price point of routine pathology testing and, moreover, deliver this testing at the patient’s side.

Genomic sequencing biosensor

Thermal Reactor

Nanomal will also be using QuantuMDx’s proprietary genomic sequencing biosensor to sequence areas of the malaria genome conferring drug resistance. The nanowires within the genomic sequencer have been arrayed and functionalized for long reads lengths as well as undertaking shotgun sequencing, vital for clinical utility and identifying emerging drug resistance in real time.

Malaria Assay

St George’s will be developing a far-reaching malaria assay to port onto the diagnostic platform which not only detects the malaria species but a wide range of genetic mutations which confer drug resistance within the malaria parasite. This definitive assay coupled with on-chip sequencing of parts of the malaria genome will provide the most comprehensive test ever for malaria diagnosis

QuantuMDx’s Q-POC™ point of care device is in development and will shortly deliver affordable, rapid and accurate medical diagnosis in less than 20 minutes, with the same accuracy (sensitivity and specificity) as any state of the art full laboratory, at the patient’s side, but at a fraction of the cost. Disposable diagnostic cartridges for companion diagnostics, TB, sexually transmitted diseases, genetic testing and cardiovascular disease are in development with our partners.

Q-POC™ is being developed for both developed and developing nations such as India, Africa and Brazil where there is a need for cheap POC testing that can be undertaken by health professionals or technicians in rural areas.

Researchers at St George’s, University of London today announced they’re leading a new project, called Nanomal, to develop a portable device that can detect the malarial parasite and identify its species within 15 minutes. malaria detector 2 Portable Device to Diagnose Malaria Down to Specific MutationsThe work is being conducted along with QuantuMDx Group, a diagnostics and DNA sequencing firm, and researchers from the University of Tuebingen in Germany and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

The press release says that the device is “the size and shape of a mobile phone,” and does bear a striking resemblance to the new iPhone 5. It features QuantuMDx’s extraction and PCR technology, a biosensor that etects the binding of the regions of malaria DNA of interest to probes immobilized on the surface of the array of nanowires,” and the company’s own genomic sequencing biosensor. St. George’s is developing a malaria assay that will run on the device and will be able to help identify genetic mutations that relate to a strain’s drug resistance.

From St. George’s:

Nanomal lead Professor Sanjeev Krishna, from St George’s, said: “Recent research suggests there’s a real danger that artemisinins could eventually become obsolete, in the same way as other anti-malarials. New drug treatments take many years to develop, so the quickest and cheapest alternative is to optimise the use of current drugs. The huge advances in technology are now giving us a tremendous opportunity to do that and to avoid people falling seriously ill or dying unnecessarily.”

The handheld device will take a finger prick of blood, extract the malarial DNA and then detect and sequence the specific mutations linked to drug resistance, using a nanowire biosensor. The chip electrically detects the DNA sequences and converts them directly into binary code, the universal language of computers. The binary code can then be readily analysed and even shared, via wireless or mobile networks, with scientists for real-time monitoring of disease patterns.

The device should provide the same quality of result as a referral laboratory, at a fraction of the time and cost. Each device could cost about the price of a smart phone initially, but may be issued for free in developing countries. A single-test cartridge will be around €13 (£10) initially, but the aim is to reduce this cost to ensure affordability in resource-limited settings.

In addition to improving immediate patient outcomes, the project will allow the researchers to build a better picture of levels of drug resistance in stricken areas. It will also give them information on population impacts of anti-malarial interventions.

Source : http://www.sgul.ac.uk/media/latest-news/nanotechnology-device-aims-to-prevent-malaria-deaths-through-rapid-diagnosis

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Masimo’s Oximeters and Neonatal Sensors for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) Screening

Masimo’s Oximeters and Neonatal Sensors for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) Screening

Masimo’s Oximeters and Neonatal Sensors for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) Screening

Radical is the most advanced, yet flexible pulse oximeter in the world. In addition to being the most feature-packed, stand-alone pulse oximeter available, Radical can operate in two additional modes. The front module of Radical can be removed, creating a fully featured handheld pulse oximeter, ideal for transport. Radical can also be used to upgrade existing equipment through the sensor connector, thus not requiring additinal hardware or software upgrades to improve the performance of your current multiparameter monitor to Masimo SET.

Masimo SET is the proven gold standard in reading through motion & low perfusion to reduce false alarms and detect true eventsThe Radical is a fully featured Standalone pulse oximeter

The Radical is a fully featured Handheld pulse oximeter

The Radical interfaces to validated multiparameter patient monitors to replace the existing conventional pulse oximetry with Masimo SET pulse oximetry.

Unprecedented specificity and sensitivity. Essentially eliminates false alarms and detects virtually all true alarms.

Accurate during most patient movement, including shivering, combativeness, neonatal movement, and seizures. Motion and Low Perfusion Study

Accurate during low perfusion.

Accurate during intense ambient light and resists electrocautery interference.

The Radical is now “Rainbow®-Ready”. To learn more, click here.

For a list of validated monitors? click here.

Masimo has announced that the firm’s Signal Extraction Technology (SET) pulse oximeters, rainbow SET Pulse CO-Oximeters, and neonatal sensors have been cleared by the FDA for use in screening newborns for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD).

This helps address a big, new need as a year ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added pulse oximetry screening of newborns for CCHD to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel.

Some study results that led to the new clearance:

Dr. Anne de-Wahl Granelli, et al., reported on the results of screening 39,821 newborn subjects at five maternity centers in Sweden. Investigators used the Masimo Radical™ with Masimo SET® technology, and found pulse oximetry screening of all well babies in maternity units is practically feasible with a minimum use of nursing time, and that it significantly improves detection of duct dependent heart disease before hospital discharge. The low false positive rate, the fact that other important pathology is unearthed by the screening, and the likely reduced need for preoperative neonatal intensive care suggest that such screening will be cost effective.

Dr. Andrew Ewer, et al., studied 20,055 newborn subjects at six maternity centers in the UK. Investigators used the Radical-7® with Masimo rainbow® SET® technology and found pulse oximetry to be a safe, feasible test that adds value to existing screening. It identifies cases of critical congenital heart defects that go undetected with antenatal ultrasonography, and the early detection of other diseases is an additional advantage.

Masimo Oximeters and Neonatal Sensors Receive FDA 510(k) Clearance with Labeling for Use in Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD)

Masimo Announces HEART Program for CCHD Screening to Provide a Free Masimo SET® Pulse Oximeter to Hospitals in Need

Irvine, California – September 24, 2012 – Masimo (NASDAQ: MASI) announced today that it has received U.S. FDA 510(k) clearance for Masimo Signal Extraction Technology® (SET®) pulse oximeters, rainbow® SET® Pulse CO-Oximeters®, and neonatal sensors with labeling for screening newborns for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD). Masimo SET® pulse oximeters and sensors have previously been cleared to measure oxygen saturation and pulse rate during motion and low perfusion conditions in newborns, but this marks the first time the FDA has cleared specific labeling indicating the use of pulse oximeters, in conjunction with a physical exam, to screen newborns for CCHD.

In conjunction with the FDA clearance, Masimo also announced the HEART Program (Help Ensure Access to the Right Technology) for CCHD screening enabling hospitals in countries where Masimo has a presence that want to perform CCHD screening with a Masimo SET® pulse oximeter, but do not have one and do not have funds to purchase one, to receive a free Masimo SET® pulse oximeter. More details are available at www.masimo.com/heartprogram.

CCHD causes up to 3% of all infant deaths in the first year of life.1 According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), these types of heart defects affect about 7 to 9 of every 1,000 live births, one quarter of which could be detected and potentially treated by measuring blood oxygen saturation. FDA clearance comes as California recently became the latest state to mandate CCHD pulse oximetry screening (http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/Bills/AB_1731/20112012/), following HHS’s September 2011 action to add pulse oximetry CCHD screening for newborns as part of the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel.

HHS took this action based on the published findings of the CCHD Workgroup,2 which relied on two major independent, published, prospective clinical studies that exclusively used Masimo SET® Measure-Through Motion and Low Perfusion pulse oximeters to recommend screening with “motion-tolerant pulse oximeters” that “have been validated in low perfusion conditions.” Both of the studies were submitted by Masimo to the FDA to support the new CCHD screening labeling.

Dr. Anne de-Wahl Granelli, et al., reported on the results of screening 39,821 newborn subjects at five maternity centers in Sweden. Investigators used the Masimo Radical™ with Masimo SET® technology, and found pulse oximetry screening of all well babies in maternity units is practically feasible with a minimum use of nursing time, and that it significantly improves detection of duct dependent heart disease before hospital discharge. The low false positive rate, the fact that other important pathology is unearthed by the screening, and the likely reduced need for preoperative neonatal intensive care suggest that such screening will be cost effective.3

Dr. Andrew Ewer, et al., studied 20,055 newborn subjects at six maternity centers in the UK. Investigators used the Radical-7® with Masimo rainbow® SET® technology and found pulse oximetry to be a safe, feasible test that adds value to existing screening. It identifies cases of critical congenital heart defects that go undetected with antenatal ultrasonography, and the early detection of other diseases is an additional advantage.4

In spite of the wide availability of Masimo SET® pulse oximetry, both as standalone products as well as integrated products in over 100 multiparameter monitors from over 50 brands, some hospitals still do not have Masimo SET® technology. Given the strong evidence supporting the use of Masimo SET pulse oximetry for CCHD screening and Masimo’s commitment to help save and improve babies’ lives through expanded CCHD screening programs, the company’s HEART Program (Help Ensure Access to the Right Technology) for CCHD screening will help ensure that hospitals have access to Masimo SET technology for CCHD screening.

“We are very proud of where we have taken pulse oximetry,” stated Masimo founder and CEO, Joe Kiani. “Before SET pulse oximetry, CCHD screening was impractical, if not impossible with pulse oximetry. Dr. Graneli’s initial study showed that even a so called ‘next generation’ pulse oximeter wasn’t able to reliably work for CCHD screening, and was abandoned in the middle of the trial, while Masimo SET delivered the groundbreaking results of high sensitivity and specificity that became the basis for this new standard of care. We are truly elated with this new FDA clearance. We feel that with it, comes the responsibility to make CCHD pulse oximetry screening more accessible for infants, the most defenseless patients in any healthcare setting. We are excited to announce that, in conjunction with this new FDA clearance, we are launching the HEART Program for CCHD screening—offering a free Masimo SET® pulse oximeter to hospitals that need one but can’t afford it. In this way, we are helping to address unmet needs on behalf of newborns around the world.”

The Masimo pulse oximeters that were the subject of this 510(k) clearance are the Radical-7®, Rad-57™ and Rad-87™ Pulse CO-Oximeters with Masimo rainbow SET, and the Rad-5®, Rad-5v™ and Rad-8® Pulse Oximeters with Masimo SET.

* Hospitals must be located in a country where Masimo has a presence. Offer subject to rules and regulations of the country where the hospital is located. Full program details and eligibility requirements available at: www.masimo.com/heartprogram.

1 Secretary of Health & Human Services letter to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (SACHDNC); dated September 21, 2011. Available here

2 Alex R. Kemper, William T. Mahle, Gerard R. Martin, W. Carl Cooley, Praveen Kumar, W. Robert Morrow, Kellie Kelm, Gail D. Pearson, Jill Glidewell, Scott D. Grosse, R. Rodney Howell. “Strategies for Implementing Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease.” Pediatrics; Volume 128, No. 5; November 2011; e1-w10 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-1317. Available here

3 De-Wahl Granelli et al., “Impact of pulse oximetry screening on the detection of duct dependent congenital heart disease: a Swedish prospective screening study in 39,821 newborns.” British Medical Journal (BMJ) January 2009; 338:a3037.

4 Ewer et al., “Pulse oximetry screening for congenital heart defects in newborn infants (PulseOx): a test accuracy study.” The Lancet 2011: Vol. 378; No. 9793; pp. 785-794.

Additional references: De-Wahl Granelli A,Mellander M, Sunnegardh J, Sandberg K, ?stman-Smith I. “Screening for duct-dependent congenital heart disease with pulse oximetry: a critical evaluation of strategies to maximize sensitivity.” Acta Paediatr 2005;94:1590-6. Available here.

Wren C, Richmond S, Donaldson L. “Presentation of congenital heart disease in infancy: implications for routine examination.” Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 1999;80:F49–F53. Available here.

About Masimo

Masimo (NASDAQ: MASI) is the global leader in innovative noninvasive monitoring technologies that significantly improve patient care—helping solve “unsolvable” problems. In 1995, the company debuted Measure-Through Motion and Low Perfusion pulse oximetry, known as Masimo SET®, which virtually eliminated false alarms and increased pulse oximetry’s ability to detect life-threatening events. More than 100 independent and objective studies have shown that Masimo SET® outperforms other pulse oximetry technologies, even under the most challenging clinical conditions, including patient motion and low peripheral perfusion. In 2005, Masimo introduced rainbow SET® Pulse CO-Oximetry technology, allowing noninvasive and continuous monitoring of blood constituents that previously required invasive procedures, including total hemoglobin (SpHb®), oxygen content (SpOC™), carboxyhemoglobin (SpCO®), methemoglobin (SpMet®), and Pleth Variability Index (PVI®), in addition to SpO2, pulse rate, and perfusion index (PI). In 2008, Masimo introduced Patient SafetyNet™, a remote monitoring and wireless clinician notification system designed to help hospitals avoid preventable deaths and injuries associated with failure to rescue events. In 2009, Masimo introduced rainbow® Acoustic Monitoring™, the first-ever noninvasive and continuous monitoring of acoustic respiration rate (RRa™). Masimo’s rainbow® SET® technology platform offers a breakthrough in patient safety by helping clinicians detect life-threatening conditions and helping guide treatment options. In 2010, Masimo acquired SEDLine®, a pioneer in the development of innovative brain function monitoring technology and devices. In 2012, Masimo acquired assets of Spire Semiconductor, LLC, maker of advanced light emitting diode (LED) and other advanced component-level technologies; and acquired PHASEIN AB, a developer and manufacturer of ultra-compact mainstream and sidestream capnography, multigas analyzers, and handheld capnometry solutions. Masimo SET® and Masimo rainbow® SET® technologies also can be found in over 100 multiparameter patient monitors from over 50 medical device manufacturers around the world. Founded in 1989, Masimo has the mission of “Improving Patient Outcome and Reducing Cost of Care … by Taking Noninvasive Monitoring to New Sites and Applications®.” Additional information about Masimo and its products may be found at www.masimo.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes forward-looking statements as defined in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, in connection with the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations about future events affecting us and are subject to risks and uncertainties, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control and could cause our actual results to differ materially and adversely from those expressed in our forward-looking statements as a result of various risk factors, including, but not limited to: risks related to our assumptions of the repeatability of clinical results obtained using the new Masimo Pronto-7 and noninvasive sensor sizes, risks related to our belief that the Pronto-7 enables quick and easy noninvasive spot-checking of hemoglobin (SpHb®), SpO2, pulse rate, and perfusion index at the point-of-care for all patients, as well as other factors discussed in the “Risk Factors” section of our most recent reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), which may be obtained for free at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, we do not know whether our expectations will prove correct. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are expressly qualified in their entirety by the foregoing cautionary statements. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of today’s date. We do not undertake any obligation to update, amend or clarify these statements or the “Risk Factors” contained in our most recent reports filed with the SEC, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required under the applicable securities laws.

Source :http://www.masimo.com/news/index.cfm#3407

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Hensler Bone Press for Collection, Separation of Autologous Bone Tissue

Hensler Bone Press for Collection, Separation of Autologous Bone Tissue

Hensler Bone Press for Collection, Separation of Autologous Bone Tissue

Working in the Surgical Pavilion at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Sean Hensler recognized a problem with a particular process during certain surgeries. So along with Dr. Thomas Melin, they designed a device to fix it. This is a short story about their invention, The Hensler Bone Press.

Special thanks to everyone at the hospital for their support with this production.

The Hensler Bone Press (HBP) is a patent-pending device which maximizes the collection and separation of autologous bone during fusion procedures. Our product quickly and efficiently separates bone from fluid during surgery, which yields a semi-dry graft-ready material for fusion procedures. The press head has been highly engineered and tested to maximize the proficient separation of autologous bone from blood. Instructions for use for bone fusion application (Package insert).

For Illustrated instructions of the Bone Fusion application for the HBP, Click here:

The HBP employs a proven 2-step method, as to allow little to no interruption of the case for both apllications of use. This process of bone collection and separation for fusion cases has been simplified to allow the surgeon and/or assist to maintain efforts on the surgery, while producing a favorable and moldable graft for use as the surgeon desires, such as interbody or on-lay fusion. The application for ultrasonic tissue collection and seperation allows for the maximum amount of sterile tissue to be delivered to pathology, while simultaneously not interupting the case during full canister transfers between the 1st assist and the surgical tech.

Step 1 — Collection of the autologous bone or tissue, fluid and blood from surgical site.

Step 2 — Press mechanism combined with surgical grade mesh to separate autologous bone or tissue from fluid.

After the press has been manually deployed down, simply tilt the container to suction away fluid leaving only semi-dry autologous bone or tissue. The same is true for the ultrasonic application. There is a 0.20mm lip around the edge of the press head, not allowing for increased pressures to potentially harm the bone or tissue. The bone has already been tested by a clinical pathologist after use of the press, which revealed no evidence of bone cell damage or death under light microscopy. Lastly, stage the bone or tissue for use as the surgeon deems appropriate.

Product Description – Ultrasonic Application

The HBP is also patent-pending for the STERILE collection of abnormal tissue, such as malignant tumors, when used as an auxillary device attached to the evacuation tubing of an ultrasonic device. Ultrasonic devices have been used successfully for the ultrasonic cutting, irrigation, and evacuation of abnormal tissue for multiple surgical disciplines. Current methodology for the collection of abnormal tissue, after it’s been cut away with use of various ultrasonic devices, is accomplished with a non-sterile permeable cloth sock and collection chamber off the sterile field. This renders the tissue contamainated. Pathologist are forced to spend significant time sifting through clotted blood, contaminated tissue and cloth fibers, which makes tissue diagnosis more difficult. By using the HBP, the pathologist will be sent the maximum amount of tissue, free of significant blood and contaminants. This is not only a cost savings, by decreasing the billable time required by the pathologist, but the non-contaminated tissue will be largely free of clotted blood and potential contaminants for improved accuracy during pathology diagnosis. Instructions for use for ultrasonic application (Package insert).

This device allows for simultaneous operations. As collection of bone or tissue takes place, the press device can be utilized in parallel on the surgical table by the tech or nurse. This exchange process can occur as many times as the case necessitates.

For Illustrations to demonstrate the Ultrasonic application of the HBP, Click here:

Product Features

One (1) HBP proprietary press head and surgical grade mesh to capture nearly all of autologous bone collected within the container.

One (1) HBP proprietary suction top to be used during autologous bone collection. The collection top suction port has been configured on the side of the top allowing for deflection of the tubing away from the surgical field of view.

Two (2) HPB containers with specialty design ribs that line up to ensure a solid seal and an improved grip.

Graduation marks up to 60cc on each 80 cc container to measure contents, if desired.

Suction ports on both tops that allow for deflection of the tubing away from the surgical field, especially during the collection phase.

One (1) Polypropylene right angle tubing connector for ultrasonic device apllication ONLY.

The collection and separation of autologous bone during spinal fusions can be a messy procedure, as Sean Hensler discovered when he was a physician assistant. When he had his own spinal fusion surgery, thanks to some free time in recovery, he came up with the idea for the Bone Press. Based in principle on a French press coffee maker, the device collects and makes it easy to separate bone tissue from the liquids in the chamber. The device harvests up to 10 cubic centimeters of bone into a little patty that can immediately be transplanted by the surgeon.

Hensler Surgical, the company setup to produce the Bone Press, expects the device to be available in the U.S. by the end of the year with European approval to follow early next year.

Features from the product page:

One (1) HBP proprietary press head and surgical grade mesh to capture nearly all of autologous bone collected within the container.

One (1) HBP proprietary suction top to be used during autologous bone collection. The collection top suction port has been configured on the side of the top allowing for deflection of the tubing away from the surgical field of view.

Two (2) HPB containers with specialty design ribs that line up to ensure a solid seal and an improved grip.

Graduation marks up to 60cc on each 80 cc container to measure contents, if desired.

Suction ports on both tops that allow for deflection of the tubing away from the surgical field, especially during the collection phase.

One (1) Polypropylene right angle tubing connector for ultrasonic device apllication ONLY.

Source : http://henslersurgical.com/collections/frontpage/products/hensler-bone-press

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One Week With the Fitbit Zip

One Week With the Fitbit Zip

One Week With the Fitbit Zip

Get a kick out of fitness with this little device. It tracks your steps, distance, and calories burned – and syncs those stats to your computer and select smartphones. In doing so, it celebrates how much more you do each day. Zip™ encourages you to set goals, challenge friends, and go farther – one step at time. That’s how you turn everyday life into a social, achievable, awesome path to fitness.

Smartphones may have dominated the news this week, but Fitbit, creators of the Fitbit Ultra smart fitness tracker and the Fitbit Aria smart wireless scale, today unveiled two new fitness trackers (which will both sync to said smartphones, by the way).

First up is the Fitbit Zip. It’s a petite tracker (about the size of a quarter coin) that comes in five fun colors and measures your everyday activity stats in real time, including steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. It has a unique tap interface to switch between different stats and is “oops-proof”, meaning it’ll survive a stroll through the rain or a good sweat.

FitBit Zip Fitbit Unveils Two New Products

Fitbit’s second new product is the Fitbit One. The Fitbit One will actually be replacing the Fitbit Ultra, but has been updated to make it even better. It still has all of the features of the Fitbit Ultra, such as tracking your steps and calories, monitoring your sleep, and gently waking you up with its silent alarm. But the Fitbit One has been redesigned to make it even more sleek, easier to read, and easier to wear.

FitBit One Fitbit Unveils Two New Products

As we mentioned earlier, both the Fitbit Zip and One will be able to sync to iOS and Android devices and smartphones equipped with the new, low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 and Bluetooth Smart Ready technology, but iOS users will have the added capability of being able to sync their stats on the go. Of course, both the Fitbit Zip and One will integrate with the Fitbit.com online tracking portal which contains social networking and motivational tools.

We got our hands on the new Fitbit Zip, the cute and chic fitness tracker that aims to make staying fit more fun. It automatically tracks the number of steps you take, the total distance you’ve walked, and the number of calories you’ve burned. If you have one of the newer iPhones, iPods, or iPads with low-power Bluetooth (Android devices coming soon as well), you can sync the Zip directly with your device, which in turn syncs to FitBit’s powerful online dashboard.

With products from Fitbit, as well as Nike and BodyBugg, and with the growing popularity of GPS- and accelerometer-equipped smartphones, the smart fitness industry is quickly growing more competitive. We spent a week with the Zip to see if it stands out from the rest. Read on to see our thoughts!

First Impressions

Fitbit Zip closeup One Week With the Fitbit ZipFor starters, the Fitbit Zip is TINY. Even the interesting battery door tool provided is somewhat humorously similar in size to the Zip. It’s really not much larger than an iPod Shuffle, which is good in that it won’t add a lot of extra bulk while you’re exercising, but could make it easy to lose.

Fortunately, the included silicone clip adds a little more substance and a better grip to the minuscule Zip tracker itself. We wonder, however, why the Zip tracker didn’t have an integrated clip to begin with; we didn’t see much practical use for the tracker when separated from the silicone clip, aside from making it easier to change out the coin battery. It’s pretty to look at though!

Setup

Fitbit Zip receiver One Week With the Fitbit ZipContinuing on with setting up the Zip, you’ll have the option of syncing the Zip with your Mac or Windows PC using the included wireless receiver, or with one of the mobile devices we listed above. We quickly found that, at least for the setup process, it seems that you have to choose one or the other. We had a little bit of trouble connecting at first to our Mac, so we went instead to our iPhone 5 with the Fitbit app installed. For some reason, we couldn’t get our Zip to pair with our iPhone 5 until we disconnected the wireless receiver from the USB port on our Mac. Whether it ended up being a fluke or an actual conflict between the wireless receiver and the iPhone’s Bluetooth, it’s probably recommended that you disconnect the wireless receiver if you’re going to set up the Zip with a mobile device, and temporarily turn off Bluetooth on your phone if you’re going to sync with a Mac or Windows PC. Eventually we got it working so that the Zip could sync with either our computer or iPhone without any further problems.

On that note, you’ll need to sign up for a free account with Fitbit, which you can do when you set up the Zip tracker. You’ll also put in your vital statistics such as age, height, and weight, which will give you much more accurate statistics and allow you to set fitness goals.

Use

Fitbit screenshot One Week With the Fitbit ZipIn terms of tracking your activity, there really isn’t much to it. The Zip’s monochrome LCD turns off when the tracker hasn’t been moved in a while, but greets you with a happy face or some other picture when you pick it up and it detects motion. From there, the Zip automatically tracks your steps, distance, calories and current time, and will display each of these separately. You’ll notice that the Zip has no buttons; cycling through the different screens is done with a light tap of the finger on the screen. It’s a simple and unique way to display your progress, but we found the screen to be less responsive than we hoped. It certainly gets the job done, but we found that it sometimes took 2-3 taps in order to change the display. We found that index fingers seemed to work better than thumbs too. It’s also worth noting that the screen does not have any illumination. While this certainly isn’t a deal breaker, an illuminated display could be useful during those brisk evening strolls. It would also make the Zip a much better competitor with the more expensive Nike+ Fuelband, Motorola MOTOACTV, or even the iPod Nano.

Syncing the Zip turned out to be quick and easy. On both the computer and the iPhone, the Zip can be set to automatically sync in the background. Your stats are updated on either the Fitbit app or the Fitbit dashboard, and on both you can set goals, log your food, and track your weight (especially easy if you own a Fitbit Aria). The dashboard, which we talked a little more about in our review of the Aria, is a little more fully featured than the iOS app, and includes integration with a number of 3rd party health and wellness tracking programs. We also really liked the mobility aspect of being able to sync the Zip directly with our iPhone wherever we are. However, we’re hoping that Fitbit will soon update their app to take advantage of the larger display on our shiny, new iPhone 5!

Closing Thoughts

If you’re thinking about getting yourself a smart fitness tracker, consider the Fitbit Zip. At only $60, it’s a small device at a low price. But size isn’t everything; the Zip is packed with features that make it a robust fitness tool. The online dashboard and iOS app allow the Zip to be so much more than simply an electronic pedometer. It’s also a huge plus that it features low-energy Bluetooth for wireless syncing to mobile devices. Here at Medgadget we’ve written about numerous medical devices that will be incorporating the new Bluetooth technology, and we’re pleased that Fitbit has chosen to embrace this next-generation standard in its latest line of smart trackers.

Source : http://www.fitbit.com/zip

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ReCor PARADISE Percutaneous Renal Denervation System Receives CE Mark

ReCor PARADISE Percutaneous Renal Denervation System Receives CE Mark

ReCor PARADISE Percutaneous Renal Denervation System Receives CE Mark

FRANKFURT, Germany–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ReCor Medical, an emerging medical device company, announced today that its PARADISE (Percutaneous Renal Denervation System) ultrasound platform for achieving renal denervation has received the CE mark. PARADISE is designed to treat patients with ‘resistant’ hypertension (“HTN”), a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

“PARADISE is designed to offer a minimally invasive ultrasound therapy to resistant hypertension patients to help reduce their blood pressure”

The F-I-M clinical data for PARADISE were reported at the “TRenD 2012” transcatheter renal denervation scientific meeting by cardiologist Thomas A. Mabin, M.D., Vergelegen Medi-Clinic, South Africa. The PARADISE data showed that systolic blood pressure was reduced by an average of 31 mm Hg in 7 patients at 60-day follow-up.

“PARADISE is designed to offer a minimally invasive ultrasound therapy to resistant hypertension patients to help reduce their blood pressure,” said Mano Iyer, CEO, ReCor Medical. “We are extremely pleased with our First-In-Man clinical results as we prepare to launch PARADISE in Europe.”

“The initial results with PARADISE are impressive,” added Professor Marc Sapoval, Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou, Paris, who is a member of ReCor Medical’s Medical Advisory Board. “This degree of blood pressure reduction has significant health benefits for patients.”

PARADISE includes a 6 French-compatible catheter with a cylindrical transducer that emits ultrasound energy circumferentially, allowing for a rapid and highly efficient renal denervation procedure. The advantage of PARADISE is its ability to uniformly denervate all the way around the arterial wall while simultaneously cooling the endothelium, to help enable a safe, consistent, and fast renal denervation procedure.

About ReCor Medical, Inc.

Founded in 2009, ReCor is a private venture-backed, early-stage company developing novel therapeutic ultrasound catheter technology. ReCor is backed by European and U.S. investors including Sofinnova Partners, one of the largest life science investors in Europe. The Company’s PARADISE™ technology for renal denervation is CE-marked. For more information about ReCor Medical, please visit the Company’s website at www.recormedical.com.

ReCor Medical has developed a unique therapeutic non-focused ultrasound system for performing renal denervation in patients with resistant hypertension. The PARADISE™ technology (Percutaneous Renal Denervation System) includes a 6 French-compatible catheter with a cylindrical transducer that emits ultrasound energy circumferentially, allowing for a more efficient renal denervation procedure.

ReCor Medical has received CE mark for its PARADISE (Percutaneous Renal Denervation System) ultrasound platform for renal denervation. The PARADISE is designed to treat patients with resistant hypertension. It does this by reducing sympathetic nervous system hyperactivity by denervating sympathetic nerves in the renal artery walls, which may be the primary mechanism by which the kidneys contribute to systemic hypertension.

PARADISE includes a 6 French-compatible catheter with a cylindrical transducer that emits ultrasound energy circumferentially, allowing for a rapid and highly efficient renal denervation procedure. The advantage of PARADISE is its ability to uniformly denervate all the way around the arterial wall while simultaneously cooling the endothelium, to help enable a safe, consistent, and fast renal denervation procedure.

If this all sounds familiar to you, that might be because the system is based on the same principles as the Medtronic Symplicity system which we have reported on multiple times in the recent past. Although both systems provide catheter-based denervation, the main differences are that the PARADISE uses ultrasound waves, while the Symplicity uses low-power radiofrequency waves. The PARADISE also uses a low-pressure balloon which allows for self-centering of the transducer for possibly more uniform, circumferential denervation and for cooling of the artery wall minimizing damage to non-targeted tissues.

A first trial in humans showed similarly impressive results as those achieved with the Symplicity system: reductions in systolic blood pressure of about 30 mmHg in patients with resistant hypertension (unresponsive to at least three antihypertensives).

Source : http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120220005481/en/ReCor-Medical-Announces-CE-Mark-Approval-PARADISE%E2%84%A2

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USB-Powered DNA Nanopore Sequencing for $900

USB-Powered DNA Nanopore Sequencing for $900

USB-Powered DNA Nanopore Sequencing for $900

New generation of sequencing technology uses nanopores to deliver ultra long read length single molecule sequence data, at competitive accuracy, on scalable electronic GridION platform. Miniaturised version of technology, MinION, will make nanopore sequencing universally accessible -

17 February 2012, Oxford, UK/FL, US. Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd. today presented for the first time DNA sequence data using its novel nanopore ‘strand sequencing’ technique and proprietary high performance electronic devices GridION and MinION. These data were presented by Clive G Brown, Chief Technology Officer, who outlined the Company’s pathway to a commercial product with highly disruptive features including ultra long read lengths, high throughput on electronic systems and real-time sequencing results. Oxford Nanopore intends to commercialise GridION and MinION directly to customers within 2012.

Oxford Nanopore’s GridION system consists of scalable instruments (nodes) used with consumable cartridges that contain proprietary array chips for multi-nanopore sensing. Each GridION node and cartridge is initially designed to deliver tens of Gb of sequence data per 24 hour period, with the user choosing whether to run for minutes or days according to the experiment.

Oxford Nanopore will introduce a new model of versatile pricing schemes designed to deliver a price per base that is as competitive as other leading systems at launch. Further substantial pricing improvements are expected with future development to the technology, in particular with increases in nanopore processing speed and higher density electronic sensor chips.

Oxford Nanopore has also miniaturised these devices to develop the MinION; a disposable DNA sequencing device the size of a USB memory stick whose low cost, portability and ease of use are designed to make DNA sequencing universally accessible. A single MinION is expected to retail at less than $900.

“The exquisite science behind nanopore sensing has taken nearly two decades to reach this point; a truly disruptive single molecule analysis technique, designed alongside new electronics to be a universal sequencing system. GridION and MinION are poised to deliver a completely new range of benefits to researchers and clinicians,” said Dr Gordon Sanghera, CEO of Oxford Nanopore. “Oxford Nanopore is as much an electronics company as a biotechnology company, and the development of a high-throughput electronics platform has been essential for us to design and screen a large number of new candidate nanopores and enzymes. Our toolbox is customer-ready and we will continue to develop improved nanopore devices over many years, including ongoing work in solid state devices.”

Summary of presentation

At the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology conference (AGBT), FL, US, Oxford Nanopore presented:

A novel method of DNA ‘strand sequencing’ that uses an array of proprietary protein nanopores embedded in a robust polymer membrane. Each nanopore sequences multiple strands of DNA from solution in succession, as individual strands are passed through the nanopore by a proprietary processive enzyme. Base calling is performed by identifying characteristic electronic signals (disruptions in current through the nanopore), created by unique combinations of DNA bases as they pass through a specially engineered region inside the nanopore.DNA and enzyme are mixed in solution, engage with the nanopore for sequencing and once the strand has been completed a new strand is loaded into the nanopore for sequencing.

Genomes that have been sequenced as contiguous reads comprising both complementary strands of the entire genome. An example was shown of lamda, a 48kb genome, sequenced as complete fragments, whose sense and antisense strand total 100 kilobases. Read lengths mirror fragment sizes in the sample with no exponential loss of processivity.

Accuracy levels competitive with existing market-leading systems were shown. No deterioration of accuracy is seen throughout the sequencing of individual strands. A development pathway was presented that is expected to achieve accuracy exceeding current market-leading platforms through further design iteration of Oxford Nanopore’s custom-made nanopores.

Oxford Nanopore’s GridION platform was presented, consisting of a scalable network device – a node – designed for use with a consumable cartridge. Each cartridge is initially designed for real-time sequencing by 2,000 individual nanopores at any one time. Alternative configurations with more processing cores will become available in early 2013 containing over 8,000 nanopores.

Nodes may be clustered in a similar way to computing devices, allowing users to increase the number of nanopore experiments being conducted at any one time if a faster time-to-result is required. For example, a 20-node installation using an 8,000 nanopore configuration would be expected to deliver a complete human genome in 15 minutes.

A variety of sample preparation options were presented. No sample amplification is required and any user-derived sample preparation resulting in double stranded DNA (dsDNA) in solution is compatible with the system. With nanopores embedded in robust polymer membranes, dsDNA can be sensed directly from blood and in some cases with no sample preparation.

Oxford Nanopore’s disruptive “Run Until…” informatics workflow: Nanopores allow the analysis of data in real time, as the experiment happens. Each GridION node contains all the computing hardware and control software required for primary analysis of data as it is streamed from each nanopore, resulting in full length real-time delivery of complete reads so that the user can perform secondary analyses as the experiment progresses. This allows the user to pre-determine an experimental question and continue the sequencing experiment until sufficient data have been accumulated to answer the question and move on to the next experiment.

Oxford Nanopore intends to introduce a new pricing model for its GridION sequencing system, which moves away from the traditional instrument price and consumable price. This is designed as a series of packages that allow the user to tailor a scheme to their budget structure, whether more flexible with capital or consumable expenditure. Transparent pricing schemes are designed for online ordering and fulfilment, with discounts applying to larger packages. Overall the schemes are designed to deliver a competitive ‘price per base’ compared to other systems on the market based on like-for-like user settings.

Further information is available at the Company’s website www.nanoporetech.com. While orders are not yet being taken for the GridION and MinION systems, interested users may register their interest at the website.

-ends-

Contact: Zoe McDougall, Communications. media@nanoporetech.com

Notes to editors

Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd is developing a novel technology for direct, electronic detection and analysis of single molecules using nanopores. The modular, scalable GridION technology platform is designed to offer substantial benefits in a variety of applications. The miniaturised MinION device is the size of a USB memory stick, designed for portable analysis of single molecules. Oxford Nanopore intends to commercialise GridION and MinION directly to customers for DNA ‘strand sequencing’ in 2012.

In addition to DNA sequencing, the system is also compatible with the direct analysis of RNA. Oxford Nanopore is also developing a Protein Analysis technology that combines target proteins with ligands for direct, electronic analysis using protein nanopores. These nanopore sensing techniques are combined with the Company’s proprietary array chip within the GridION system and MinION.

The Company is also developing the subsequent generation of nanopore sensing devices based on solid-state nanopores.

Oxford Nanopore has licensed or owns more than 300 patents and patent applications that relate to many aspects of nanopore sensing including fundamental nanopore sensing patents, analysis using protein nanopores or solid state nanopores and for the analysis of DNA, proteins and other molecules, including the analysis of probe molecules on DNA. The Company has collaborations and exclusive licensing deals with leading institutions including the University of Oxford, Harvard and UCSC. Oxford Nanopore has funding programmes in these laboratories to support the science of nanopore sensing. This includes the use of functionalised solid-state nanopores for molecular characterisation, methods of fabricating solid-state nanopores and modifications of solid-state nanopores to adjust sensitivity or other parameters.

As predicted, Oxford Nanopore Technology (ONT) made the biggest splash at the recently concluded Advances in Genome Biology & Technology meeting. There may have been apprehensions that Oxford wouldn’t live up to the pre-conference hype, but a full house of meeting attendees – plus loads of people following on Twitter – were not disappointed. Following the Steve Jobs school of product launch (website down on the morning of the talk and then a new one up just after the announcement, Clive Brown making a dramatic pause before announcing ‘one more thing……’) ONT presented a novel nanopore sequencing technology that caused audible gasps in the audience, hijacked all other discussions for the rest of the meeting, and was immediately being hailed as a ‘game-changer’.

Enthusiastic approvals also streamed through the Twitter feeds, and equally glowing reviews came in the form of blog-posts [1] almost immediately (by those who had been given early access to the presentation). The paradigm-shifting promise of an USB-powered, almost palm sized device that can sequence billion bases of DNA on your laptop has captured everyone’s imagination, with main-stream media like New York Times covering the story. The announcement rapidly affected the stock prices of other players in the sequencing field as well (suited financial types attending the meeting were observed to be furiously texting as the talk was progressing).

Many blogs and news-sites (check the list [1] below) have extensively covered the various features of the two sequencing platforms announced by ONT – the GRIDIon and the MINIons, as well as how it might affect the sequencing landscape (though unfortunately in some cases, the posts sound like rehashing of marketing materials). So I won’t go into those details here.

However, I would like to go a little beyond the hype, briefly recapping the talk by Clive Brown to analyze some of the scientific breakthroughs made by ONT that enabled the technology at the heart of these sequencing devices.

[As an aside, my pre-announcement predictions of the technology was off on many of the details, though the general ideas were as expected. Of course, the MINIon totally came from the left field.]

Basically the platform involves a chip containing densely arrayed nanopores, the electrical current through each of which can be read separately. DNA can be added to the chips with an enzyme and sequencing is performed as the enzyme bound DNA is pulled to the pore. The only requirement for sequencing to work is that the DNA should have a 5’- overhang. However, there are number of other DNA forms that will work as well. The two sequencing runs demonstrated during the talk were performed with DNA where a hairpin is added at one end (possibly so that the DNA is arrested at the top of the pore and can be run through the pore in the reverse direction once more).

Zooming into the sensor itself, the protein nanopore being utilized by ONT is still ?-hemolysin (?HL), but it is an engineered protein with several amino acids within the pore mutated to other residues to improve base-discriminating abilities.

Rather than using a polymerase to control the speed of the DNA (as I was thinking), they have developed a novel motor-enzyme for the ratcheting motion. However, they would not say which particular protein acts as the rachet other than that it is certainly not a polymerase. Not having a polymerase is actually useful since additional nucleotides do not need to be added to the solution and the DNA is available in the original form for re-sequencing if needed.

For obtaining both the optimal pore and the motor-enzyme, the ONT scientists had to screen hundreds of mutations to hit upon the perfect ones.

ONT has also done away with the traditional lipid membrane that the ?HL protein is usually embedded in, and replaced it with a robust synthetic polymer. The protein-polymer combination is preloaded on the chips and is extremely stable with 80% of the pores still functional after three days. It also has the ability to withstand dirty samples like blood and sewage wate. This I believe is actually a major material science-biochemistry interface innovation. While ?HL is a relatively stable protein on its own, if the synthetic polymer can be adapted to other proteins, it could be useful to protein arrays in general. But it is mainly the stability of this polymer membranes (and to some extent the electronics) that enables the disposable USB drive-sized MINIon sequencer.

The synthetic polyemer-protein interface is combined with their own low-noise integrated circuit to produce the dense array of protein pores, each an individual sequencing machine, on their chips.

For actual base-reads, ONT still has not achieved single-base sensitivity (though Brown did mention they are working on it). Instead they are reading three bases at a time, leading to 64 different current levels. They then apply the Viterbi algorithm – a probabilistic tool that can determine hidden states – to these levels to make base calls at each position.

Using this technology, ONT was able to sequence two smaller sized genomes – a phiX viral DNA (5kbase) and the lamda DNA (48kbase). In both cases, DNA was sequenced as a single linearized fragment. Each fragment was read twice, once in each direction. The error was found to be ~4%, and mainly caused due to the nature of the predictive nature of base-calling, and fluctuations in currents due to DNA vibrating in the pore. The scientists at ONT are working on further pore mutations to remove this noise.

Considering that many different groups have struggled for over 25 years to produce sequencing information using nanopores, the presentation of this data is without doubt a significant scientific landmark in this field. The scientific team at ONT deserve rich kudos for making it happen. It was also heartening to see David Deamer and Dan Branton, two people from the group that were the first to envision nanopore sequencing, take in the talk from the front row. They must have been incredibly excited.

[One should mention here that Jens Gundlach of University of Washington, Seattle, also had a poster at the meeting that showcased nanopore sequencing data – albeit on a much shorter, 20-30 basepairs, scale – using the MspA protein and a phi29 polymerase enzyme].

In summary, Oxford Nanopore seems to have solved the three key technical challenges faced by protein nanopore sequencing technology: controlling speed of DNA, fragility of the biological membranes, and the lack of sharp sensing zones. They have demonstrated proof-of-principle of their pore by sequencing the phiX and lambda DNA at a relatively (compared to say, PacBio) high accuracy. They have unveiled a conceptual design of devices that will contain a dense array of protein pores that will work in parallel to sequence DNA, which they say will be available to customers at very competitive pricing (for GRIDIon) or unprecedented portability (MINIon). Combined the potential of unprecedented long reads, possibly upto 1000kB, no expensive or time-consuming library preparation, and potential direct RNA reads and epigenetic detections, the technology is indeed a massive game changer.

Well……..theoretically.

Until ONT demonstrates actual sequencing of a more complicated genome (a microbial one at minimum), there will be a healthy degree of skepticism. The reaction from Jonathan Rothberg, inventor of the 454 and Ion Torrent sequencing technologies, comparing the MINIon to ‘cold fusion’ might be a bit extreme. However, a majority of scientists I spoke to at AGBT agreed that while ONT’s technology is very promising, the proof will come from real world usage of the devices. The exceptional promises made by Pacific Biosciences two years ago, which they have only partially delivered on, is on everyone’s mind.

According to this post, ONT is providing about a dozen institutes with machines for beta testing, so hopefully we will have some real data very soon. Additionally, given the $1000 price range, I expect quite a few labs all over the world will buy a MINIon for simply testing the technology.

Still, the lack of data or some scientific details at the talk is a bit bothersome. I did not exactly see data that demonstrates that 64 levels of currents are being detected. Additionally, I was not quite sure if the phiX or the lambda DNA was sequenced using just one pore or the actual sensor array. There was mention of rabbit blood and waste-water being added to the chip for sequencing. This is very impressive in that the protein-polymer was not affected, but did they obtain actual sequencing data from these experiments? I do not recollect seeing that. Finally, while the sequencing of phiX or lambda DNA was quite exceptional as mentioned, one will have to wait for real sequencing data on complicated genomes to find out base length reads, error rates etc.

To be fair, it was a very short talk (20 minutes). But perhaps they could have released more data at the poster. Or allowed people to download some early data from their website.

In addition to these concerns, it seems to me there are couple of issues with the sequencing methods as it stands.

Firstly, since DNA is not amplified or modified, there will be modified nucleotides that will have a different current level. For future sequencing with real genomes, this will undoubtedly add to the complexity of base calling since the number of current levels being detected will be much higher than 64.

Secondly, if the DNA is added without any preparation, varying DNA lengths could cause some issues. Shorter DNAs are more likely to be pulled to the pore due to faster diffusion leading to a bias in the sequencing. I expect there will have to be some sort of fragment sizing, and there are quite a few commercial instruments out there (e.g the Pippin technology from Sage that was on demo at the conference) that can do this.

As such, the next few months will be extremely interesting as more details and data emerge confirming if ONT have indeed found one of the Holy Grails of sequencing (and yes, Brown showed an image of the rabbit from the Python movie, very appropriate).

[The ONT announcement completely overshadowed some other interesting technology news at the meeting, including Ion Torrent’s Ion Proton machine, some new data on very long reads from Illumina on their machines, and two other prospective next-generation sequencing technologies from GnuBio and LAserGen. More unfortunately, it overshadowed some really interesting basic scientific talks presented there. I will try to get a brief review of those very soon.]

Michael Berger at the Nanowerk blog has an article on the latest efforts to use nanopores to characterize proteins and sequence single DNA molecules. His report focuses on successful experiments that demonstrated the feasibility of single-molecule DNA through-the-pore spectroscopy. On our pages, we wrote on a number of promising experiments in which scientists developed special nanopore channels, that interacted with translocating molecules and “reported” their molecular structure and sequence (see flashbacks below).

From the current Nanowerk article:

“In recent years, the creation of nanochannels or nanopores in thin membranes has attracted much interest due to the potential to isolate and sense single DNA molecules while they translocate through the highly confined channels” Dr. Joshua Edel, a lecturer in micro- and nanotechnology at the Imperial College London, explains to Nanowerk. “Nanopores for such applications have already been fabricated but in all studies to date, the detection of translocation events is performed electrically by measuring the ionic current” (what this means is that molecules translocating through a nanopore will momentarily perturb the ionic current, with the duration of the perturbation and the magnitude of the current blockade providing more detailed information about molecular shape and structure).

Edel’s group, together with collaborators from Drexel University, recently presented proof-of-concept studies that describe a novel approach for optically detecting DNA translocation events through an array of solid-state nanopores which allows for ultrahigh-throughput, parallel detection at the single-molecule level (“Single-Molecule Spectroscopy Using Nanoporous Membranes”).

source : http://www.nanoporetech.com/news/press-releases/view/39

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Spider Silk-Inspired Biomedical Thread

Spider Silk-Inspired Biomedical Thread

Spider Silk-Inspired Biomedical Thread

We employ the adhesive web building strategy used by modern orb-weaving spiders to produce functional microthreads that are similar in structure (beads-on-a-string (BOAS) morphology) and adhesive properties to the capture-silk threads of the spider web. The diameter and spacing of droplets (beads) are controlled by varying the viscosity, velocity, and surface tension of the coating fluid. Using these functional threads, we also describe the behavior of the BOAS morphology during contact (mimicking the collision of an insect with the web) and during separation (mimicking insect rescue from the web). Our results show that the BOAS structure performs better than a cylindrical structure for adhesion, which may explain why this morphology is so prevalent in spider webs despite the cost of increasing the visibility of the web.

Spider webs are commonly known as a frustration when cleaning the house, or as a source of anger when walking into one while hiking or camping. However, thanks to researchers at University of Akron they may now be associated with a more positive, biomedical application: sutures with embeddable drugs for wound healing.

Writing in a recent issue of Langmuir, the researchers describe employing…

the adhesive web building strategy used by modern orb-weaving spiders to produce functional microthreads that are similar in structure (beads-on-a-string (BOAS) morphology) and adhesive properties to the capture-silk threads of the spider web. The diameter and spacing of droplets (beads) are controlled by varying the viscosity, velocity, and surface tension of the coating fluid. Using these functional threads, we also describe the behavior of the BOAS morphology during contact (mimicking the collision of an insect with the web) and during separation (mimicking insect rescue from the web). Our results show that the BOAS structure performs better than a cylindrical structure for adhesion, which may explain why this morphology is so prevalent in spider webs despite the cost of increasing the visibility of the web.

This may have medical applications in wound healing and other uses that require biomaterial adhesives. One of the most interesting potential applications is embedding medications in the adhesive itself that can slowly be released. According to the press release:

Rather than place individual glue drops on a string, the researchers’ novel technique coats threads uniformly with glue. The glue forms waves, which morph into beads that create greater-than-average contact areas and also release energy, or adhesive strength, when peeled. The beads can potentially also create a structure in which medication can be placed and released.

So next time you are about to destroy a spider web, take a minute to reflect on how it may have inspired the next generation of sutures and other biomedical threads… then destroy it.

Source : http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/la203275x?journalCode=langd5

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Dental CR Reader Featuring Tablet Support

Dental CR Reader Featuring Tablet Support

Dental CR Reader Featuring Tablet Support

3DISC Imaging, a manufacturer of digital imaging products, has developed a compact, affordable imaging solution that provides rapid, high-quality reading of reusable dental imaging plates and is the first to feature a tablet computer—improving practice workflow and facilitating patient consultation at the chairside. The FireCR Dental Reader will be introduced at the Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting in Chicago Feb. 23–25 (Booth #546).

The FireCR Dental Reader is uniquely positioned for chairside use in exam rooms by leveraging the flexibility of the innovative QuantorTab. This 10.1-inch tablet computer can be added to the PC and features easy-to-use touch screen software that provides dentists with immediate access to dental images, allowing for chairside diagnosis and interactive review with patients about treatment options.

The FireCR Dental system is small, elegant, and simple to operate, and is ideal for placement in each exam room. The reader—smaller than a shoebox—is DICOM 3.0 compatible with existing systems and uses low-cost, reusable imaging plates in a variety of sizes. These include bite-wing and intraoral dental imaging plates, which are easier and faster to position than intraoral digital sensors.

Sigrid Smitt-Jeppesen, chief executive officer of 3DISC Americas, said the company is one of the first to offer exam room-based CR readers for busy dental practices. “We’re setting a new standard in dental imaging by offering a reader and tablet computer that rapidly deliver high-quality digital images at the chairside, eliminating the need to leave the room to scan and review images on a central computer,” she said. “FireCR Dental Readers are compact and affordable, so dentists can distribute units in each examination room, increasing patient throughput and improving overall productivity of the practice.”

According to Thomas Weldingh, chief executive officer of 3DISC Europe, the FireCR Dental Reader features other automated processes that are key to efficient workflow. “These unique features include integrated UV sterilization and erase functions—the system sterilizes, scans, and clears the imaging plates so that they are immediately ready to use again,” Weldingh said. “This contrasts with other dental CR readers that are large and expensive central units, and which require practices to purchase an additional device to erase plates prior to reuse.”

Weldingh said that image quality is controlled by 3DISC’s QuantorDent Imaging Software, which optimizes image acquisition, processing, and management. Autocalibration technology also ensures stability and consistency—important benefits for busy dental practices.

The FireCR Dental Reader will be available worldwide in mid-2012. It is the newest addition to 3DISC’s growing line of compact, portable imaging products, which also includes the FireCR+ Medical Reader and FireCR+ Veterinary Reader, designed for use in hospitals, clinics, and medical, chiropractic, and veterinary practices.

About 3DISC Imaging

3DISC specializes in quality imaging products for the medical, dental, chiropractic, and veterinary markets. Its products are based on innovative concepts that provide highly productive, compact devices and software that deliver uncompromising image quality at an affordable price. The company has quickly developed strong distribution networks in the United States and Europe, making its leading-edge products available to a growing number of hospitals, clinics, specialty practices, and satellite facilities seeking flexibility that lets them grow.

FireCR Dental Reader

The FireCR Dental Reader is one of the first exam-room-based readers designed specifically for dental x-ray imaging in busy practices.

The CR system and its companion tablet computer that offers easy-to-use touch screen software, rapidly deliver high-quality digital images at the chairside eliminating the need to leave the room to scan and review on a central computer.

FireCR Dental Readers are compact and affordable, so dentists can distribute the computed radiography units in each exam room, increasing patient throughput and improving overall productivity of the practice.

FireCR_Dental_Scanner

Innovative QuantorTab Computer

The FireCR Dental Reader is uniquely positioned for chairside use in exam rooms by leveraging the flexibility of the innovative QuantorTab. This 10.1-inch tablet computer can be added to the PC and features easy-to-use touch screen software, allowing chairside diagnosis and interactive review with patients about treatment options. In other words, dentists are provided with immediate access to the dental x-ray images.

QuantorTab

A Small, Elegant & Simple CR System

The dental CR system is small, elegant, and simple to operate, and is ideal for placement in each exam room. The CR reader – smaller than a shoebox – is DICOM 3.0 compatible with existing systems and uses low-cost, reusable imaging plates in a variety of sizes. These include easy-to-position bite-wing and intraoral dental imaging plates that are easier and faster to position than intraoral digital sensors.

Unique Features

By offering a CR reader and tablet computer that rapidly delivers high-quality digital images at the chairside, 3DISC imaging is setting a new standard in dental x-ray imaging.

The FireCR Dental Reader includes other unique features: A built-in erase function eliminates the need to purchase an additional device to erase imaging plates prior to reuse, and an integrated UV capability sterilizes imaging plates that may be contaminated during handling, ensuring a hygienic workflow.

QuantorDent Imaging Software

The FireCR Dental Reader is managed by the intuitive, easy-to-use QuantorDent Imaging Software.

The software optimizes dental x-ray image acquisition, processing, and management. Autocalibration technology ensures stability and consistency – important benefits for busy dental practices, depending on the reliability of the CR system they use.

Affordable, Fast ROI

The FireCR Dental reader provides fast return on investment by delivering high-quality image processing, improved productivity, and the elimination of film processing costs – at an affordable price.

In contrast to more expensive dental CR readers that take years to provide a return on investment, FireCR Dental users can achieve a return in just 3-6 months, depending on imaging volume.

Market Your Practice

Show the community that your practice offers the latest in dental x-ray imaging technology for improved patient results – including the first tablet computer designed to facilitate patient education and consultation at the chairside.

Talk to 3DISC today about leveraging your use of the FireCR Dental Reader and QuantorTab computer to help market your practice.

FireCR Dental CR Reader Technology Provides Superior Image Quality

For facilities evaluating CR reader options, ensuring high-quality images is paramount. 3DISC CR solutions are the result of a three-year development process, spearheaded by a team of researchers with wide-ranging experience in all facets of imaging technology.

In addition, consistent dental x-ray imaging quality is ensured by autocalibration technology that continually monitors and adjusts the CR readers to ensure a level beam path across the surface of the image plate for each and every image scanned. As a result, 3DISC CR readers offer excellent stability and repeatability.

3DISC Imaging inc., Dulles, VA, a manufacturer of digital imaging products, has developed a compact imaging device that provides reading of reusable dental imaging plates. The FireCR Dental Reader features a tablet computer to immediately view and share imaging results at the chair side and features touch screen software that provides dentists with immediate access to the history of the patient’s dental images.

The reader is DICOM 3.0 compatible with existing systems and uses low-cost, reusable imaging plates in a variety of sizes, including bite-wing and intraoral dental imaging plates.

Sigrid Smitt-Jeppesen, CEO of 3DISC Americas, commented in the press release:

We’re setting a new standard in dental imaging by offering a reader and tablet computer that rapidly deliver high-quality digital images at the chairside, eliminating the need to leave the room to scan and review images on a central computer. FireCR Dental Readers are compact and affordable, so dentists can distribute units in each examination room, increasing patient throughput and improving overall productivity of the practice.

The FireCR Dental Reader will be introduced at the Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting in Chicago Feb. 23–25 and will be available worldwide in mid-2012.

Source : http://www.3discimaging.com/3disc-launches-first-dental-cr-reader-featuring-tablet-computer/

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High Resolution Calibrated Medical Displays on the Cheap with PerfectLum Software

High Resolution Calibrated Medical Displays on the Cheap with PerfectLum Software

Wilmington, DE, USA – QUBYX Software Technologies Inc., an expert in color calibration and medical imaging fields, has announced that their bundle of the premium DELL UltraSharp U3011 display and PerfectLum 3.0 DICOM calibration software has received the Food & Drug Administration 510(k) market clearance for diagnostic reading, which allows the company to position the device as a professional medical one.

“We are very pleased to have now not only European CE Mark for PerfectLum software, but also the FDA clearance for the DELL 4 MP display and PerfectLum bundle,” says Marc Leppla, Director of QUBYX. “The FDA clearance allows the bundle to officially enter the US and international markets as a medical device. Moreover, it will ensure confidence in quality and safety of the device for healthcare facilities, relying on FDA 510(k) clearance when purchasing medical monitors.”

The DELL UltraSharp U3011 is a 30-inch 4MP display with a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels, a typical brightness of 370 cd/m2 and IPS (in-plane switching) panel technology. The display is designed to provide more consistent colors, a brighter picture from different angles and brilliance across the color spectrum. It allows the user to experience lifelike visuals at 117% (CIE 1976) typical color gamut and to see more detail in grayscales. Multiple connectivity thanks to DisplayPort, two HDMI 1.3 and two DVI-D connectors is also one of UltraSharp U3011 remarkable features.

The medical monitor calibration application PerfectLum 3.0 allows to use this high quality display for viewing of medical images and diagnostics. The UltraSharp monitor in bundle with PerfectLum is delivered calibrated to DICOM GSDF part 14 standard. Moreover, the medical display QA tool allows performing not only DICOM, Gamma and CIE L* hardware re-calibrations using the 10 Bit LUT (Look Up Table) of the display, but also DICOM, AAPM TG18, DIN 6868-157, DIN 6868-57 conformance tests, verification of white level, luminance level and display uniformity. Such PerfectLum features as calibration of multiple displays, connected to one workstation, and remote display management system for maintenance of multiple workstations from one location will be beneficial to networks of healthcare facilities and telemedicine.

The FDA certification for the DELL UltraSharp-QUBYX PerfectLum bundle proves the companies’ commitment to medical imaging field. It also provides evidence of the concept, that commercial displays can be calibrated to meet the highest demands of medical industry and successfully utilized for diagnostics and reviewing of medical images.

About DELL

DELL Inc. is an American multinational information technology corporation based in Round Rock, Texas, United States, that develops, sells and supports computers and related products and services. Bearing the name of its founder, Michael Dell, the company is one of the largest technological corporations in the world. Today, Dell connects with more than 5.4 million customers every day — by the phone, in person, on the company website and, increasingly, through social networking sites. To read more about DELL, please visit DELL Displays Website.

With PerfectLum 3.x medical display calibration software you can calibrate any premium LCD display to the highest medical standards. PerfectLum Suite medical monitor quality control tool not only does the calibration, but also performs quality assurance tests to ensure your display conforms to the most demanding standards of the industry.

The resulting image quality matches and can even surpass that of the most overpriced displays on the market.

ANY GRAPHICS CARD

PerfectLum Suite medical monitor calibration and QA application is compatible with any graphics card, including 13 bit Matrox and 10 bit RealVision medical graphic boards.

ANY MEASURING DEVICE

If you already have a measuring device, you probably won’t need another. PerfectLum Suite medical monitor qualtity control tool works with nearly every model ever made.

AUTOMATIC DISPLAY ADJUSTMENT

On VESA DDC/CI-compliant displays, PerfectLum Suite automatically adjusts contrast and brightness over the DDC/CI channel so you don’t have to go into the display’s OSD menu.

The display is automatically adjusted to a desired white level and optimum color temperature to ensure fast and easy calibration process as well as high quality results.

EXTREMELY PRECISE CALIBRATION

Color calibration is performed not only on white but all gray levels. For example, white will be at 6500 Kelvin, but so will gray 120/120/120 and 64/64/64. This ensures that the observer sees the gray levels correctly, as the aspect of an image is infuenced by colors in the grays, not just luminance.

Medical monitor calibration and QA application PerfectLum

In the process of calibration an ICC profile is generated to save characteristics of colors for the given device.

GLOBAL STANDARDS

PerfectLum medical monitor calibration application calibrates to international standards including NEMA DICOM part 14 GSDF, AAPM TG18, DIN 6868-57, DIN 6868-157, JESRA X-0093 and IEC 62563-1. PerfectLum Suite medical display QA software not only calibrates a display, but also performs acceptance and constancy tests to verify that the display conforms with these standards.

HARDWARE CALIBRATION

Rather than saving on your computer’s graphics card, LUT (Look Up Table) calibration is saved inside any supported display.

UNIFORMITY CORRECTION

For example, if your display is 30% off in luminance from the center, PerfectLum can correct that down to 3%. A display with a nonuniformity of more than 15% can no longer be used in Germany, as it would not meet the German DIN 6868-57 standard. Calibrate with PerfectLum and simply continue using the display.

PERFECTLUM REMOTE

DISPLAY MANAGEMENT

With PerfectLum Remote display management system, a system administrator can perform calibration, verification and quality assurance tests for all displays in multiple hospitals and radiology practices from a single location. The system administrator can schedule further quality assurance tasks for client machines, and a notifier on the client machine will remind the user to perform the task when it is due. An automatic alert system notifies the administrator via e-mail whenever a calibration or a QA test on one of the client machines is failed.

HISTORY DATABASE AND REPORTS

PerfectLum Suite provides proof of maintenance for all your diagnostic displays. After calibrating or using the history feature to visualize previous calibrations and verifications, simply export the report as a pdf, print and file. Automatic backup is performed for history database to ensure not a letter is lost.

Proper medical displays from big names in the business typically cost many thousands of dollars. They are well tuned, often have nifty features like popup calibrating sensors, and adjustment for ambient lighting. But not everyone wants to spend $5,000 on a screen.

PerfectLum is a piece of software from QUBYX, a company out of Nice, France, that through calibration effectively turns a high end consumer monitor into a perfectly compliant medical display. Not that many of the available displays on the market are compatible, but the FDA just cleared the $1400 Dell 30 inch UltraSharp U3011 to be a proper medical display when used with PerfectLum 3.0 DICOM calibration software. It features a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels, a typical brightness of 370 cd/m2 and IPS (in-plane switching) panel technology.

Source : http://www.qubyx.com/us/pressproof-display-calibration/124-qubyx-receives-fda-510k-clearance-for-the-dell-ultrasharp-u3011-with-perfectlum-bundle

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New Tongue Drive System Uses Dental Retainer to Operate Wheelchair

New Tongue Drive System Uses Dental Retainer to Operate Wheelchair

New Tongue Drive System Uses Dental Retainer to Operate Wheelchair

The Tongue Drive System is getting less conspicuous and more capable. Tongue Drive is a wireless device that enables people with high-level spinal cord injuries to operate a computer and maneuver an electrically powered wheelchair simply by moving their tongues.

Tongue-Drive-Maysam-Ghovanloo-Retainer-Commands

The circuitry for the new intraoral Tongue Drive System developed at Georgia Tech is embedded in this dental retainer worn in the mouth (right). The system interprets commands from seven different tongue movements to operate a computer (left) or maneuver an electrically powered wheelchair. (Click image for high-resolution version. Credit: Maysam Ghovanloo)

The newest prototype of the system allows users to wear an inconspicuous dental retainer embedded with sensors to control the system. The sensors track the location of a tiny magnet attached to the tongues of users. In earlier versions of the Tongue Drive System, the sensors that track the movement of the magnet on the tongue were mounted on a headset worn by the user.

“By moving the sensors inside the mouth, we have created a Tongue Drive System with increased mechanical stability and comfort that is nearly unnoticeable,” said Maysam Ghovanloo, an associate professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The new intraoral Tongue Drive System was presented and demonstrated on Feb. 20, 2012 at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco. Development of the system is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the National Institutes of Health.

Tongue-Drive-Maysam-Ghovanloo-Retainer-Circuitry

The dental appliance for the new intraoral Tongue Drive System contains magnetic field sensors mounted on its four corners that detect movement of a tiny magnet attached to the tongue. It also includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and an induction coil to charge the battery. (Click image for high-resolution version. Credit: Maysam Ghovanloo)

The new dental appliance contains magnetic field sensors mounted on its four corners that detect movement of a tiny magnet attached to the tongue. It also includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and an induction coil to charge the battery. The circuitry fits in the space available on the retainer, which sits against the roof of the mouth and is covered with an insulating, water-resistant material and vacuum-molded inside standard dental acrylic.

“One of the problems we encountered with the earlier headset was that it could shift on a user’s head and the system would need to be recalibrated,” explained Ghovanloo. “Because the dental appliance is worn inside the mouth and molded from dental impressions to fit tightly around an individual’s teeth with clasps, it is protected from these types of disturbances.”

When in use, the output signals from the sensors are wirelessly transmitted to an iPod or iPhone. Software installed on the iPod interprets the user’s tongue commands by determining the relative position of the magnet with respect to the array of sensors in real-time. This information is used to control the movements of a cursor on the computer screen or to substitute for the joystick function in a powered wheelchair.

Tongue-Drive-Maysam-Ghovanloo-iPod-iPhone-Interface

Georgia Tech researchers designed this universal interface for the intraoral Tongue Drive System that attaches directly to a standard electric wheelchair. The interface boasts multiple functions: it not only holds the iPod, but also wirelessly receives the sensor data and delivers it to the iPod, connects the iPod to the wheelchair, charges the iPod, and includes a container where the dental retainer can be placed at night for charging. (Click image for high-resolution version. Credit: Maysam Ghovanloo)

Ghovanloo and his team have also created a universal interface for the intraoral Tongue Drive System that attaches directly to a standard electric wheelchair. The interface boasts multiple functions: it not only holds the iPod, but also wirelessly receives the sensor data and delivers it to the iPod, connects the iPod to the wheelchair, charges the iPod, and includes a container where the dental retainer can be placed at night for charging.

In preliminary tests, the intraoral device exhibited an increased signal-to-noise ratio, even when a smaller magnet was placed on the tongue. That improved sensitivity could allow additional commands to be programmed into the system. The existing Tongue Drive System that uses a headset interprets commands from seven different tongue movements.

The ability to train the system with additional commands – as many commands as an individual can comfortably remember – and having all of the commands available to the user at the same time are significant advantages over the common sip-n-puff device that acts as a simple switch controlled by sucking or blowing through a straw.

The researchers plan to begin testing the usability of the intraoral Tongue Drive System by able-bodied individuals soon and then move onto clinical trials to test its usability by people with high-level spinal cord injuries.

In recent months, Ghovanloo and his team have recruited 11 individuals with high-level spinal cord injuries to test the headset version of the system at the Atlanta-based Shepherd Center and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Trial participants received a clinical tongue piercing and tongue stud that contained a tiny magnet embedded in the upper ball. They repeated two test sessions per week during a six-week period that assessed their ability to use the Tongue Drive System to operate a computer and navigate an electric wheelchair through an obstacle course.

“During the trials, users have been able to learn to use the system, move the computer cursor quicker and with more accuracy, and maneuver through the obstacle course faster and with fewer collisions,” said Ghovanloo. “We expect even better results in the future when trial participants begin to use the intraoral Tongue Drive System on a daily basis.”

Georgia Tech graduate students Abner Ayala-Acevedo, Xueliang Huo, Jeonghee Kim, Hangue Park and Xueli Xiao, and former postdoctoral fellow Benoit Gosselin also contributed to this work.

This project was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (Award Nos. CBET-0828882, IIS-0953107 and IIS-0803184) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Award No. RC1 EB010915-01). The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigators and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NSF or NIH.

A year ago we wrote about a new tongue controller designed to give quadriplegics the ability to operate external devices like wheelchairs and computers. Now results from a clinical trial testing the capabilities of the interface for the severely handicapped have been presented at the annual meeting of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA), and they show that the technology is intuitive and precise enough for patients to quickly become acquainted with it in a short period of time.

3mnag42 Tongue Controller Looks Promising For Paralyzed

At the beginning of each trial, Ghovanloo and graduate students Xueliang Huo and Chih-wen Cheng attached a small magnet — the size of a grain of rice — to the participant’s tongue with tissue adhesive. Movement of this magnetic tracer was detected by an array of magnetic field sensors mounted on wireless headphones worn by the subject. The sensor output signals were wirelessly transmitted to a portable computer, which was carried on the wheelchair.

The signals were processed to determine the relative motion of the magnet with respect to the array of sensors in real-time. This information was then used to control the movements of the cursor on a computer screen or to substitute for the joystick function in a powered wheelchair.

Ghovanloo chose the tongue to operate the system because unlike hands and feet, which are controlled by the brain through the spinal cord, the tongue is directly connected to the brain by a cranial nerve that generally escapes damage in severe spinal cord injuries or neuromuscular diseases.

Before using the Tongue Drive system, the subjects trained the computer to understand how they would like to move their tongues to indicate different commands. A unique set of specific tongue movements was tailored for each individual based on the user’s abilities, oral anatomy and personal preferences. For the first computer test, the user issued commands to move the computer mouse left and right. Using these commands, each subject played a computer game that required moving a paddle horizontally to prevent a ball from hitting the bottom of the screen.

After adding two more commands to their repertoire — up and down — the subjects were asked to move the mouse cursor through an on-screen maze as quickly and accurately as possible.

Then the researchers added two more commands — single and double mouse clicks — to provide the subject with complete mouse functionality. When a randomly selected symbol representing one of the six commands appeared on the computer screen, the subject was instructed to issue that command within a specified time period. Each subject completed 40 trials for each time period.

After the computer sessions, the subjects were ready for the wheelchair driving exercise. Using forward, backward, right, left and stop/neutral tongue commands, the subjects maneuvered a powered wheelchair through an obstacle course.

The obstacle course contained 10 turns and was longer than a professional basketball court. Throughout the course, the users had to perform navigation tasks such as making a U-turn, backing up and fine-tuning the direction of the wheelchair in a limited space. Subjects were asked to navigate through the course as fast as they could, while avoiding collisions.

ton33234 Tongue Controller Looks Promising For Paralyzed

Each subject operated the powered wheelchair using two different control strategies: discrete mode, which was designed for novice users, and continuous mode for more experienced users. In discrete mode, if the user issued the command to move forward and then wanted to turn right, the user would have to stop the wheelchair before issuing the command to turn right. The stop command was selected automatically when the tongue returned to its resting position, bringing the wheelchair to a standstill.

“Discrete mode is a safety feature particularly for novice users, but it reduces the agility of the wheelchair movement,” explained Ghovanloo. “In continuous mode, however, the user is allowed to steer the powered wheelchair to the left or right as it is moving forward and backward, thus making it possible to follow a curve.”

Each subject completed the course at least twice using each strategy while the researchers recorded the navigation time and number of collisions. Using discrete control, the average speed for the five subjects was 5.2 meters per minute and the average number of collisions was 1.8. Using continuous control, the average speed was 7.7 meters per minute and the average number of collisions was 2.5.

It’s been a while since we covered news about the tongue controller which enables quadriplegics the ability to operate wheelchairs and other devices by moving their tongues. The newest prototype of the Tongue Drive System makes use of a dental retainer with sensors to help control the system. tongue controlled wheelchair New Tongue Drive System Uses Dental Retainer to Operate WheelchairThe embedded sensors within the retainer track the movements of a small magnet attached to the tongue.

Problems related to using a headset as the magnet sensor in the earlier version of the system required the team to try a wireless dental retainer. The retainer is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and makes use of magnetic field sensors on the four corners of the device to track the magnet’s movements. The sensors transmit their information to an iPod or iPhone and special software enables the mobile device to control the movements of a cursor on a computer screen or to work as a substitute for a joystick in a powered wheelchair.

The Tongue Drive System can be made to interface with any standard electric wheelchair. Since the new version has an improved sensitivity, additional tongue movement commands can be programmed into the system. Earlier tests using the older version of the system have been done with 11 patients with high-level spinal cord injuries. These tests showed that after getting used to the device, the people in the study group were able to operate their wheelchairs and computer cursors faster and with more accuracy. The researchers expect even better results from the intraoral Tongue Drive System.

Source : http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/tonguedrive3/

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