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

1 / Teen Health App

Consumer Health

Teens don’t have all the answers, but they know their way around a phone. Enter the Y2Connect website and app, designed to link youth with a range of clinical and community-based programs and resources. Developed for Baltimore, Y2Connect features information on more than 50 topics including birth control, health insurance, mental health, and job training. Its creators plan to launch websites for other U.S. cities this spring.

Martina Paukova

2 / Weather in a Box

Environmental Health

A city’s air quality is not uniform and can vary considerably from neighborhood to neighborhood. To better obtain this hyper-local pollution and temperature data, a Johns Hopkins team has invented the WeatherCube. The low-cost devices, about 1 cubic foot in size, are water-resistant and solar-powered. A tiny fan sucks in air to measure temperature and humidity. Additional sensors collect data on pollution levels four times per hour and can transmit the information over Wi-Fi to a cloud service.

city weather
Alicia Corman

3 / 3D Cancer Scan


People with chronic acid reflux and other esophageal issues run an increased risk of cancer, but biopsies are cumbersome, with dozens of slices frequently inconclusive. The noninvasive LuminScan, a fiber-optic endomicroscope developed from research conducted by a Johns Hopkins biomedical engineer, lets the examining physician do high-resolution esophagus scans at a clip of 50 to 100 cross sections per second.

4 / VR for Low Vision


Phone, zoom in. A Johns Hopkins ophthalmology researcher has designed a virtual reality system to help people with low vision see better. To magnify a person’s surroundings, the system works with a Samsung Galaxy phone and Samsung Gear headset. When viewing live video from the phone’s camera, a bubble on the screen appears and magnifies what the person is looking at. Using a touchpad on the headset, the user can adjust the size of the bubble and degree of magnification. A ready-to-use package is now available from IrisVision, and the system can be tailored to a person’s specific visual impairment.

5 / Simming Sudden Cardiac Death


Some heart disease patients face a higher risk of sudden cardiac death, which can happen when an irregular heartbeat, called an arrhythmia, disrupts the normal electrical activity in the heart and causes the organ to stop pumping. These occurrences are very rare, making it difficult to study how they result, and might be prevented. To help discover what triggers this deadly disorder, a team led by Johns Hopkins researchers has constructed a powerful new computer model that replicates the biological activity within the heart that precedes sudden cardiac death.

6 / Ready, Set, Rehab


Patients with wrist fractures, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other hand conditions often skip the recommended—and sometimes tedious—at-home physical rehabilitation exercises. One solution: Make the rehab fun. A new video game called MoTrack Therapy, designed by a team of Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering students, works with a computer’s camera to read and track hand exercise movements, score the progress, and offer live corrective feedback. A soon-to-be-released mobile version will prompt the user to perform a motion in a certain amount of time.

wrist x-ray
Getty Images

7 / Can you triage me now?

Remote Medicine

A Johns Hopkins–led project called NeMo (short for neonatal monitoring) will enable mothers in remote regions to use a low-cost wearable device— incorporating sensors and a simple cellphone app—to spot serious health problems such as fevers or acute respiratory infections during their newborn child’s critical first week. The project, recently funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was piloted in Uganda and at the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.

mother and baby
Charlotte Fu

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