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Physician’s Touch in Robotic Glove for Self-Exams
Doctor-in-a-glove for checkups and screenings could reduce healthcare costs
Everyone knows that frequent physical exams and early detection of disease are two of the best ways to remain healthy. Everyone also knows that it’s easier said than done.
However, if an exam were made easy enough to do frequently and in the convenience and privacy of one’s own home—with all the exam results sent wirelessly to the nearest hospital, doctor or healthcare facility—then you’ve created a powerful diagnostic tool.
Enter doctor-in-a-glove, or more to the point, physical exam-in-a glove, the brainstorm of two engineers and a Harvard Medical School student who came up with the idea of when X Prize founder Peter Diamandis and futurist Ray Kurzweil asked them to create something that would impact one billion people in 10 years.
The idea was sparked when Andrew Bishara, Elishai Ezra and Fransiska Hadiwidjana were discussing Star Trek’s Tricorder (the device that could diagnose patients just from a scan). Bishara wondered if a real-life Tricorder could actually work and diagnose disease without the components of a physical exam. Having a background in medicine, he knew that human touch plays a role in healing.
“Our team created a glove that solves the lack of availability of physical exams around the world,” comments Hadiwidjana . “Since sensor technologies are improving and becoming cheaper, we believe now is the time for instrumentation gloves to be applied to medicine in a way that integrates sensor technology and aids and augments the abilities of a physician without taking him/her away from the bedside.”
There are other sensory gloves and wearable smart devices for surgery, but Hadiwidjana says they are the first team that has focused on the general physical exam.
Their glove provides breast cancer screenings; can detect everything from an enlarged liver to enlarged lymph nodes; and easy assessment of abdominal pain and heart abnormalities and more.
“Our mission is to provide a paradigm shift in medicine so that future technologies can be integrated seamlessly into physician-patient relationship instead of taking the physician away from the bedside. This will allow physicians to do more of the diagnosis at the first patient visit and reduce healthcare costs.”
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