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MedTech

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

1 / Digital Heart Health Buddy

cardiology

Meet Corrie, a mobile app for cardiac patients that aims to keep recovery beating right along. The app, equal parts activity tracker and treatment manager, works with Apple Watch and CareKit to monitor vitals like heart rate and blood pressure, and can alert the user when it’s time to take medications or get up and walk. The app also lets you track mood and weight, and schedule follow-up doctor appointments.

Illustration of an Apple Watch projecting a heartbeat upwards
Jori Bolton

2 / Sweat the Details

diagnostics

Smelly human perspiration doesn’t just help regulate body temperature; this bodily fluid also contains critical health information. People with cystic fibrosis, for example, have abnormally high chloride levels in their sweat gland secretions. A prototype wearable sensor developed by Johns Hopkins researchers aims to accurately measure these levels to monitor and eventually diagnose this genetic disease faster than current methods. The sensor could also one day provide soldiers and athletes with information on electrolyte balance and glucose levels.

Photograph of a wrinkled, sweaty t-shirt
Thinkstock Photos

3 / Mood Tracker

mental health

Time for your mood check. A Johns Hopkins psychiatrist co-developed Mood 24/7, a free, text-based service to track your ups and downs. Users sign up online and pick a time of day to receive a text message that asks how they’re feeling on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high). The encrypted results can be kept private or shared with doctors, family, and friends in your trusted circle, making Mood 24/7 a mobile electronic health diary.

Illustration of a person pointing to their mood on a chart
Boyoun Kim

4 / Next-Gen Stethoscope

pulmonary

Two Johns Hopkins engineering professors have developed a prototype low-cost, “smart” stethoscope for the monitoring and diagnosis of lung diseases. Unlike traditional stethoscopes, this one comes equipped with five microphones inside the programmable head to zero in on lung sounds, even if not ideally placed. A sixth outward-facing microphone and associated software collect and strip ambient noise from the environment, making it easier to use in a noisy room. Future versions might alert users when the device detects a specific sound, like the crackly noise of pneumonia.

Illustration of a stethoscope monitoring lung activity
Mitch Blunt

5 / A Stand-Up Invention

radiology

The 411 on CT scanners: room-sized, expensive, and a claustrophobe’s nightmare. A Johns Hopkins biomedical engineer thought: Why not develop a modest-sized scanner where patients don’t have to lie flat? Now approved for clinical use, the OnSight 3D Extremity System allows a patient to stand or sit comfortably while it images bones, cartilages, tendons, and ligaments. Compared to a conventional CT scanner, OnSight 3D costs less, can image a joint under pressure, and involves lower radiation exposure.

6 / Bandage Aid

injury prevention

Bedsores be gone. A Johns Hopkins plastic surgeon and a team of biomedical engineering students aim to prevent the common injury with Mercury Patch, a breathable wound dressing equipped with pressure sensors. Bedsores can occur in as little as two hours as pressure builds on vulnerable areas, like heels or buttocks. The Mercury Patch wirelessly transmits pressure information via Bluetooth to alert clinicians when it’s time to reposition the patient.

7 / Sim Hearing

neurology

A multidisciplinary Johns Hopkins team has created a computational model of the brain’s auditory cortex to help researchers better understand how humans process sound. Once perfected, the model could be used to understand why people with schizophrenia or tinnitus hear sounds that are not physically present, or why people with autism are overly sensitive to background noise. The model, which represents a patch of cortex that processes sound frequencies, is detailed down to the cellular level.

Illustration of an ear superimposed on a brain, being exposed to radiation waves
John S. Dykes

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