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MedTech

Technology Roundup
Apps, gadgets, and other innovations that are advancing health and health science.

1 / Symptom Checker

health

Input your symptoms—cough, abdominal pain, etc.—and a new online tool says what might be ailing you. Symcat.com, developed by former Johns Hopkins medical students, uses anonymous data from millions of patient records to estimate disease probability. 

Illustrated poster of a symptom checker
John Patrick Thomas

2 / Forecasting Abuse

relationships

To prevent and respond to relationship violence, look for the warning signs. The One Love My Plan app, populated with decades of research from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, spots omens of an unhealthy or unsafe relationship. The discreet, password-protected app asks questions about your current or ex-partner, allows the user to identify priorities for safety, and provides a risk-factor score and personalized action plan with links to national and local resources.

illustration of a smartphone with a heart on the screen and a man threatening a woman behind it
Pui Yan Fong

3 / Under the Sea

neuroscience

Ever want to swim with dolphins? How about swimming as one? Shark Eaters: Rise of the Dolphins is a physics-driven game for tablets that allows the player to feel the joy of lifelike movements under water as a dolphin or other cetacean. The team of neuroscientists and engineers behind its creation believe the game bridges cognition and motor control. Down the line, they hope its principles will be used to design games combined with robotic hardware as therapy to help patients recover from stroke and other forms of brain injury.

image of a dolphin
Thinkstock Photos

4 / As the Virus Turns

epidemiology

Viruses. Bad. Mutating ones? Even worse. Scientists at the Applied Physics Laboratory have invented the oRACLE chip to help researchers drastically reduce the time it takes to mimic the natural evolution of a virus. In mere hours, the droplet-based tool can determine mutations, automating work that would take years to perform by hand.

illustration of virus cells
Thinkstock Photos

5 / Diaper Diagnostic

pediatrics

Your baby’s poop color is telling you something. Fecal color and consistency are well-known markers of digestive health, and paying attention to a newborn’s stool shade can help diagnose a life-threatening liver disease. Free mobile app PoopMD uses color recognition software so parents may snap photos of stool and receive feedback within seconds. Parents then have the option of sending the photos to their pediatrician.

photo of cloth diapers stacked on top of each other
Thinkstock Photos

 

6 / Tracking Cancer

oncology

Johns Hopkins engineers have invented a device that gives cancer researchers a microscopic look at metastasis, the complex way that tumor cells spread through the body. The small, transparent chip could uncover new ways to keep the killer disease in check.

illustration of magnifying glass looking at cells
Kotryna Zukauskaite

 

7 / Surgical Aid

surgery

Remember the game Operation? Don’t touch the sides or, buzz! The AccuSpine pedicle probe enables safe and accurate spine screw placement through real-time feedback to the surgeon. The wandlike device, designed by biomedical engineering students, uses vibration and flashing LED lights to warn of breaches.

illustration of a surgical instrument
Thinkstock Photos

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