Medical innovations that are boosting and transforming modern healthcare: Part 3

If there’s something that this pandemic has taught us it’s that health truly is wealth! We cannot take our health and well-being for granted, and a mindset of preparedness and precaution is extremely integral during such times. The medical industry has been making leaps and jumps in its innovations, to ensure such a brutal pandemic doesn’t occur again. Designers have been coming up with new and improved, life-saving medical designs that not only boost medical care but relieve some of the pressure from our tireless medical force. From a nifty gadget that turns your bed into an auto-reclining vitals-tracking smart bed to an intelligent knee brace, these designs tackle a variety of problems in the health and medical field. They’re a boon to modern healthcare and a reminder that we cannot take our health for granted any longer!

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Literally, the size of a quarter, Adam Miklosi’s Dab is an unobtrusive Holter ECG/EKG that rests comfortably on your chest, constantly reading your heart’s movements. Designed to be minimal, non-invasive, and simple, the Dab tries to bridge the gap between medical appliances and wearables. Its tiny yet classy design sits on your chest via a gel patch, while the electrodes capture your heart activity. The Dab’s dry-electrodes allow it to be used and reused, while constantly measure one’s heart activity (requiring periodic charging via their wireless charging hub), and keep logs of accurate readings, quietly sitting on your chest while you absolutely forget that they’re even there in the first place!

Designed by a former cancer patient, the BheemUP aims at transforming the bed into a hospital bed alternative – one that people can afford, and one that doesn’t FEEL like a hospital bed. The BheemUP is a two-part design that not only turns your regular bed into an automatic recliner but also senses and tracks your sleep, posture, and vitals while you’re in bed. Perfect for people with medical concerns, or just people who are looking to upgrade how they sleep and wake up, the BheemUP makes your bed smarter, safer, and more comfortable too. The BheemUP is complemented by the BheemSense Lite, a provisionally patented sensor mat that’s the first to track movement, heart, and breath rates in bed, contact-free. The mat, which sits right underneath your bedsheet, helps track your posture, your sleep quality, and even your heart rate, creating a holistic diagram of health while you’re in bed, and uses machine learning to provide personalized insights. Using a combination of Bheem’s patent-pending, in-house stretch fabrics, and proprietary algorithms, the mat monitors vitals and movement over your ENTIRE upper body, sending the data to their App, which helps track and improve posture, health, and sleep quality.

Conceived by a self-proclaimed “group of sporty geeks who are dedicated to exoskeleton technology and addicted to robots and Cyberpunk,” E-Knee was created by C-Exoskeleton upon realizing that most knee braces in circulation today do not incorporate auto-adjustments or auto-binding, instead, the elastic knee braces wrap knees either too loosely or too tightly. Designed in the image of Cyberpunk, E-Knee’s support elements, such as gyroscope and airbags, remained exposed and exaggerated with colorful displays. Offering real-time support, each component of E-Knee works to register when and where support is needed and decipher how best to deliver that support.

The Prescription Paper Pill Bottle, a first of its kind, is 100% compostable and biodegradable. Its open-source design adheres to FDA regulations for durability, light, water, and child resistance. It’s available to any pharmacy for filling prescription tablets and capsules. Once used then emptied, the paper bottle can be tossed into any compostable bin with its Rx label to decompose and be reused as fertilizer to safely replenish the soil in fields, gardens, and landscapes,” says the team. Tikkun Olam Makers made it an open-source design which means anyone anywhere in the world can use their method and make their own paper pill bottles by downloading the .stl file that contains the attendant images and assembly instructions.

The TEMPMi isn’t a bulky gun-shaped thermometer or a fragile mercury-filled glass thermometer. It’s a tiny, battery-sized device that weighs a mere 8 grams (as much as a key) and is designed to be the kind of thermometer you carry around with you as EDC. It uses a thermopile and infrared sensor to accurately gauge temperatures without contact, working just like a contactless thermometer-gun would, but at a mere fraction of the size. The TEMPMi’s compact size isn’t just another feature, it actually allows the device to be smart too. It comes without a battery or display and operates by plugging into your smartphone. This enables the TEMPMi device to record your readings for you, turning the thermometer into a smart one. All temperature readings are displayed on your smartphone screen in a legible font and in the unit of your choice.

The conceptual Neura project focuses on solving two issues with one product – an ambulance attachment assembled quickly for a bike to navigate dense cities easily. Neura’s intention is to get the patient to the medical facilities faster and because of how fast it can be made, it is a gift when resources are short. The form is built like a two-wheeled wagon that can be attached to a vehicle. The Neura ambulance has one stretcher for the patient and a seating place for one paramedic. It is 3.1 meters long and has been designed to be light in weight by using minimal parts. It can reach remote parts where the lanes are narrow and can conserve the use of the traditional, more well-equipped ambulances for critical patients. In countries like India, the Neura project will be very successful given the dense traffic at any given point of the day will still allow a bike to slip out to the hospital easier than a van.

Fitbit, a company that was already leading the game in monitoring body activity, has taken its tagline of ‘every beat counts’ to a whole new level by designing portable ventilators to fight the crisis. The Fitbit ventilator is called Flow and has already received emergency clearance from the FDA which means they can start working on the production process. Be it a 3D-printed ventilator or the one that costs $40,000, they have the same job – pump oxygen into the patient’s lungs and reduce the respiratory distress. Fitbit is a trusted personal gadget that we all use to monitor our health and wellness, so the team used their existing body sensors and put them to work in a product designed to function as a portable ventilator. The resuscitator bags that paramedics use is placed inside a clear case so the health professionals can monitor and operate them from a safe distance if needed.

The design studio Valkiria has put a lot of time and research into creating the blueprint, and final product of the Mercur Immobilizer Boot M1 leg braces with consultation from existing users of other such braces and health experts who conveyed the problem and the intended solution they would want. In the end, Valkiria managed to come up with a product that is safe, stays consistent in its shape with use, and intended for long-term usage if the rehabilitation period is extended. The form and function of the Boot M1 facilitate the user with both feet fit as it is bilateral – in both longer and shorter versions depending on the need. Also, there are the anatomical plastic nails that reduce the pressure on the calf, and for easy opening and closing, there is the Velcro fastening system. To address the smelling issue, the design studio chooses a breathable material to annihilate the growth of bacteria and keep the heat down.

Fernando Sánchez from Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico proposes a solution to this rising waste problem with his Biodegradable Medical Test kit. Made entirely from plant-based materials that can easily biodegrade into soil, these kits help ramp up testing without leaving a massive ecological footprint behind. “Each test is made of cellulose and contains no plastic, fiberglass, or nitrocellulose, elements found in almost all single-use diagnostics. It can be disintegrated in wastewater and is safe for most plumbing systems, even those with septic systems. The test can biodegrade in the soil in less than 10 weeks, just like a banana peel”, says Fernando, who designed the Biodegradable Testing Kit as his final-year project. The kit consists of a nanoparticle-based immunochromatographic test that helps detect antibodies present in a blood, serum, or plasma sample. The tests are accurate and easy to read as the results display in under 8 minutes.

An ambulance’s role is to get patients to a hospital as fast as possible. While this system remains the current norm, it basically means ambulances need to make TWO trips to fulfill their purpose – to the patient, and to the medical facility. The Mobile Hospital halves that by directly bringing the cutting-edge facilities of the hospital directly to the patient. Designed for disaster-struck areas and war-torn regions, the Mobile Hospital is a complete diagnostics center and operation theater on wheels. The vehicle is roughly the size of a semi-truck and fits all state-of-the-art medical equipment within its rear compartment. When the hospital reaches its destination, the rear compartment expands sideways to virtually triple in size. This makes its inner cabin much more spacious, allowing the hospital to effectively and efficiently treat multiple people.

Emergency product designs to prepare and rescue you from any life-threatening situations!

Ever since COVID-19 struck our world, one thing we know for sure is that we never really know what calamity can hit us. An emergency can arise at any time, affecting us and everybody we know! Hence, in these uncertain and stressful times, it’s very important to always be prepared to handle any situation that may be thrown at us. A mindset and consequent actions of preparedness are essential. Maintaining this very attitude, designers and creators have been coming up with a wide variety of products that promise to rescue us during even the most major emergencies. From a school desk that turns into a safety shelter during earthquakes to a flotation device made using recycled plastic bottles – we have a whole range of highly functional and useful product designs that will protect you and your loved ones no matter what.

You never really know what sort of curveballs the year 2020 can throw at you. I mean we’ve had forest fires, a pandemic, murder hornets, there was a massive fireball spotted in the sky in Japan yesterday… so a mindset of preparedness is really our best shot at this point. In that very vein, the Life Triangle Desk gives children the instant shelter they need in the event of a natural disaster at school. The desk looks and functions like any writing desk, but in the event of a quake or tremor (or honestly, even an attack on a school in a war-torn area), the desk converts into a secure triangle-shaped shelter against falling debris or shrapnel. In the event of a calamity, the desk surface can be lifted up to unlock it, allowing it to slide down, creating a triangular space underneath. Given that triangles are naturally stable in shape, the desk helps protect children from any large falling items by deflecting them. The desk also helps rescue teams who will instinctively know to check underneath them for victims and survivors.

The Saviour is a modular system of interlocking tubes that help you create flotation devices. The tubes don’t float themselves, but rather, allow you to attach multiple plastic bottles around the rim to help the overall product stay afloat. You can either assemble the Saviour to form a U-shaped training apparatus or join multiple pieces to close the U, turning it into an O-shaped device that children can use as a tube. The Saviour is low-cost, and its individual modules can easily be 3D-printed based on demand. Moreover, it utilizes plastic bottles, helping recycle waste into something vastly more useful. If a plastic bottle gets damaged, it can easily be replaced with another one, allowing you to quickly upgrade/repair your training gear. Besides, the colourful bands on the Saviour help increase its visibility, allowing you to spot it floating on the water from a distance!

The Saver Whale is ideally a concept of an underwater drone designed to reach where human rescuers can’t – or shouldn’t – go. Lots of human live-saving deep water rescues happen in challenging, dangerous conditions which are difficult for diving squads to negotiate without risking injury or loss of life. Maritime rescue drones such as the Saver Whale can reach uncharted waters – reducing risk to human life – and work as scouts to deliver medical and equipment to liberate any trapped or sinking soul. The Saver Whale, equipped with cameras, sonar, and radar for detection, and a radio system for communication, can be deployed from the helicopter, to venture into depths of the hostile waters of the ocean where sending human is riskier. The drone, on detecting a survivor or diseased and can instantly relay the message to the rescue team and request assistance. In addition to calling out for backup and relaying its live location, this versatile sub can equip the survivor with a life vest, rope, and other gear from the first aid kit onboard.

This easy-to-stow collapsible wheelchair also becomes a stretcher when needed. At the simple push of a button, the Emergency Wheelchair transforms from a small suitcase-sized box to a wheelchair. The backrest and leg rest can be further adjusted to turn into a stretcher that can be manoeuvred around using the small wheels at the base. Designed for every conceivable scenario and engineered to make sure it effectively works in all conditions, the wheelchair is made of a magnesium alloy, high-strength factory plastic, and a flame retardant fabric. When not in use, it collapses back to the size of a suitcase, allowing it to be easily packed and stored back in its place.

Emergency Helper was designed to help people in the event of a fire in a building, but what makes it different is that it is a lot more than just a fire extinguisher and is aimed at helping with the side effects of the emergency as well. In case of fire, it informs the location of the fire extinguisher as well as the location of the evacuation route. When a fire breaks out, LED lights will come on from both sides and the bottom of the product, an alarm will ring the warning sound and the LED on the top-front will notify people where to evacuate from. In case the fire breaks out around the product or the product cannot be used for some reason, the smart device will spray extinguishing fluid from the front and both sides after detecting the heat around it. It also includes a hammer, flashlight, and respirators – this can help people evacuate safely and reduce respiratory stress for those with breathing problems in case of such emergencies.

The conceptual Neura project focuses on solving two issues with one product – an ambulance attachment assembled quickly for a bike to navigate dense cities easily. Neura’s intention is to get the patient to the medical facilities faster and because of how fast it can be made, it is a gift when resources are short. The form is built like a two-wheeled wagon that can be attached to a vehicle. The Neura ambulance has one stretcher for the patient and a seating place for one paramedic. It is 3.1 meters long and has been designed to be light in weight by using minimal parts. It can reach remote parts where the lanes are narrow and can conserve the use of the traditional, more well-equipped ambulances for critical patients. In countries like India, the Neura project will be very successful given the dense traffic at any given point of the day will still allow a bike to slip out to the hospital easier than a van.

HydraCell was designed to give you instant power if you were outdoors or had an emergency. The water-activated fuel cell can charge your devices and provide light for days – a must-have for campers. It is also eco-friendly, all the waste generated from creating the HydraCell is 100% biodegradable and doesn’t add to toxic landfill waste like most flashlights. When you need power during a storm or outdoors we use batteries but are they really reliable? More often than not, batteries are dead, or faulty they haven’t been used, and while you can recharge some during a power cut that is not an option. HydraCell fills this negative gap that batteries have with positive innovation. It can provide up to 100 hours of light and charge up to 10 phones with a single charge plate.

The S.Light, which should be as much of a standard carry-on accessory as a car-jack or lug-wrench, is a signaling beacon that allows drivers to know that there’s a broken-down vehicle ahead, from as far as 200 yards away, giving them enough time to react by either change lanes and avoiding a collision, or pulling up near you to help you out. The S.Light, which stands for Safe-Secure-Signal is a portable, flexible signboard that uses a rotating LED display for high visibility at night, and a collapsible reflector panel during the day. The emergency signboard comes with a strong, magnetic base and a flexible goose-neck upon which lies the rotating LED module.

While we love and care for pets as we do for our own children, there is not enough being done in terms of disaster preparedness for them. Evacuating with animals needs a lot of advanced preparation and most people are unprepared due to a lack of information or kits that are made for this specific situation. As emotional support/companion animals are increasingly becoming a new norm, we need a kit like Base which ensures their safety while doubling up as an everyday pet furniture item in the house. In the event of a disaster, you can rely on the built-in emergency kit by using Base as a carrier for your pet. The shape is inspired by a friendly cave that makes animals feel protected keeping it aligned with their natural instincts of hiding when they are scared. The product consists of two parts- the left side of the kit provides basic products and the right side can be selected by the user according to the companion animal species making it usable for a wide variety of people and pets. It also comes with rescue request stickers that help neighbors to identify the pet and help to rescue them in the case of any unfortunate events.

Obviously executing an airlift in cities isn’t particularly feasible. You’ve got buildings, cars, pedestrians, telephone wires, traffic lights, along with a dozen other complications. Helicopters, no matter how small, can’t do the job in crowded cities, and regular ambulances end up bearing the brunt of congested roads and traffic. In swoops (quite literally) the Ambular, an eVTOL designed to provide medical airlifts in cities. Ambular can take off and land without needing a helipad and can transport patients to medical centers safely, via air. Ambular comes with six propellers (three on each side) that help it take off and land vertically as well as travel through the air. Given that Ambular will work in crowded cities, it makes sense that the propellers come with pretty strong guards around them, just in case they hit or snag something and get damaged. Each propeller is capable of pushing out 20kW of power, giving the Ambular the ability to carry patients up to 250lb for as long as 15 nautical miles.

Self-sanitized autonomous pods combine public transit with safe socializing

COVID-19 has changed the perception of life in the last year or so, and it’s still showing no signs of retreating as new variants push their claws towards human life. Scientific researches have proved that such pandemics will be a common affair in the coming time, and to get around them, we’ll have to alter our living methodology. Pretty obviously, the way we commute is also going to take a ‘detour’ – especially in public transport systems. Pivot of Safety by Yongho Jeon is a look into the future where maintaining social distancing in public transit will be of prime importance.

The autonomous share ride system is imagined as a 1, 2, or 4 person unit with an airy home-like space being the focus. Keeping things very minimal on the inside, the idea here is to create a relaxing environment while making sure of safety when we talk of social distancing. The pod-like vehicle segregates the sitting area for each passenger with glass separators and individual infotainment systems to keep in touch with friends & family. Air purifiers and UV sanitization (on exposed surfaces such as tables) ensure the minimal spread of contagious viruses or other pathogens for the safety of the rider. There are plants potted in between the four-person pod unit’s diving section to bring the calming effect indoors.

Once a passenger or group of passengers have completed their journey, the pod self-disinfects using UV light. Over the wheels, there is space for storage of luggage or any big items passengers want to haul. The concept makes even more sense in an uncertain future where being safe is the only option to stay clear of harm’s way and helping curb the spread of deadly pathogens. Yongho’s concept is practical and has a very clean design blueprint that is feasible in real-world settings.

Designer: Yongho Jeon

This sustainable office building uses passive energy practices and promotes biodiversity with their green roof!

CABI is an international nonprofit committed to solving problems related to agriculture and the environment through fact-based scientific expertise, improving the lives of people across the globe– those who work for CABI needed an office that reflected their mission. Taking on the project, Scott Brownrigg designed a sustainable headquarters based in the UK that features a rolling green roof and encourages biodiversity through highly energy-efficient building practices.

CABI’s new headquarters in Wallingford hones in on passive sustainability as its main focus. The building’s location and orientation were specifically chosen to minimize solar gains, allowing for shade in the warmer months and plenty of sunshine during the colder months. To achieve natural air ventilation, the building dons a perforated facade, allowing cool air to flow throughout the interior day and night, and then heat recovery ventilation pre-warms fresh air during the winter months. While this means for maintaining natural airflow is energy-efficient and passively sustainable, it also works to keep office workers comfortable in the age of COVID-19, allowing for fresh air to enter the building throughout the day. While all the energy-efficient practices take place inside the building, CABI headquarters’s exterior promotes biodiversity through a living roof, attracting insects and birds to its sprawling green hills.

Scott Brownrigg firm director Ed Hayden describes a sort of symbiotic relationship between the building and its occupants that was achieved through, “A traffic light system [which] alerts users when the building gets too hot or doesn’t have enough fresh air. It will prompt occupants to open their windows and increase the levels of fresh air in the building.” CABI has come a long way since its conception in 1910, hosting close to 180 members inside its new, sustainable headquarters.

Designer: Scott Brownrigg

From the outside, CABI’s new headquarters appear as two rolling hills.

CABI HQ is filled out with floor-to-ceiling windows that dissolve the barrier between the outside and inside, bringing its occupants even closer to the environment.

Inside, office workers enjoy natural air ventilation through the building’s perforated facades.

Scott Brownrigg designed CABI’s new headquarters to merge seamlessly with its surrounding environment.

Situated in the middle of a manicured lawn, CABI’s location was specifically chosen to minimize solar gains.

A perforated facade allows fresh air to flow into the building throughout the day.

A traffic light system was put in place to indicate when the office could use some fresh air, signaling workers to open their windows.

Herman Miller’s latest office furniture range abandons the ‘cubicle’ and promotes social freedom

With changing times, social spaces need to change too… and it seems like Herman Miller has noticed that. As a world that’s slowly preparing to step out of their homes and go back to offices again, this unique window of time we’ve got is perfect to redefine productivity and how offices should look in this new future. Herman Miller’s OE1 series of furniture helps define the ‘new age’ office by creating a space that’s more conducive to co-working and socializing, instead of locking people in cubicles to make them more productive. The OE1 series brings an element of openness, dynamism, and fun to the workplace, giving it a unique facelift that definitely contrasts from the restrictive atmosphere created by working from home.

Short for Optimized Essentials, the OE1 range is “designed to help people experiment with space, discover what works in the moment, and change rapidly for the future”. It focuses on adaptability and on agility, by allowing modules to interconnect or separate, and work well both as a part of a team or as individual units… sort of like humans. The furniture elements can be scaled up, scaled down, or fine-tuned to create the workspace you need. Filled with basic forms and vibrant colors, the OE1 series has just the right amount of character to ad a minimalist yet vibrant touch to the workspace.

“The ideas behind OE1 predate COVID-19. The collection is the result of two years of development, driven by an international research project, in which the team interviewed everyone from office managers to sci-fi writers about the future of work. But as the collection came to a crest in 2020, amid a rise of remote work in response to the global pandemic, this future-forward design became a much more urgent one”, reports Fast Company.

“I often say with a mixture of pride and sorrow that Herman Miller invented the cubicle… probably envisioning a utopia, and it became something different,” says CEO of Herman Miller, Andi Owen. “We envision a future where [modular, flexible] furniture styles are the ones that are most dominant” Owen replies, indicating the demise of the restrictive cubicle, and the creation of what is referred to as an “unsystem” – or a series of individual elements that can be mixed and matched in a variety of ways, without ever really ‘going wrong’.

What’s immediately characteristic of the OE1 is that even as it creates separate, independent workspaces, it does so without putting the user in a bubble. People are still welcome to look each other in the eye, exchange pleasantries and ideas, and work as a collective whole instead of as individual cogs in a machine.

The Agile Wall [above and below] is a series of vertical panels that act as functional elements even serving as room dividers. The upper example showcases a wall-hung whiteboard that even has a soft-board attached to it, while below, a series of shelves helps functionally partition a space without visually creating a partition.

The OE1 series even relooks desks, with the Micro Pack [above] and a more traditional seating arrangement below. Each Micro Pack comes with an adjustable desk system, letting you choose between sitting and standing formats, while even organizing your cables into a central channel. Along with it all, the Micro Pack even lets you hang your bag or backpack on a hook placed right beneath the desk, so you don’t have to drop your purse on the ground when you sit at your desk.

For more traditional sitting desks, you’ve got OE1 Storage Trolleys that nest nicely under them, allowing you to cut the clutter on your table yet still have all your stuff at hand. The trolleys can be moved around as you shift workspaces, and can even be turned into stools by popping a seat on top, so you can have a quick conversation with your colleagues without dragging your chair around.

Ultimately, with the OE1 series, Herman Miller aims at building up the workplace by breaking it down. Plagued by the ‘cubicle culture’ that they themselves created, the OE1 is Herman Miller’s way of going back to the drawing board and redefining creativity and productivity in a way that is less bound by rules and is more accommodating of diverse work cultures. In a rather bittersweet way, it also takes into account the fact that workplaces may see downsizing, budget cuts, and migration to smaller office spaces. With the modular design of the OE1 and those innovative Micro Packs, Herman Miller hopes to create a workplace that fits ‘more into less’ while still “making [the workplace] as comfortable as possible.”

Designers: Herman Miller in collaboration with Kim Colin and Sam Hecht

Honeywell and rapper Will.i.am just debuted a futuristic face-mask with built-in wireless earphones





I’ll be honest, nothing about that title is even remotely predictable. In fact, it gets progressively weirder with every subsequent word. You wouldn’t expect Will.i.am to release a medical product, more so, partner with Honeywell over it… but together the rapper and the OEM conglomerate collaborated over a mask that combines the best of both parties. Titled the XUPERMASK, the $299 face-mask comes with dual three-speed fans and HEPA filters, but also packs Bluetooth earphones with noise canceling audio and 7-hour battery life. I’ll be honest, the association with Will.i.am aside, the mask really looks pretty futuristic (it comes co-designed by Hollywood costume-designer Jose Fernandez, who also designed the SpaceX astronaut suits). The fact that it’s built by Honeywell lends it a good amount of credibility, and I can’t believe I’m saying this but I could actually see myself wearing one of these.

The XUPERMASK attempts at turning face-masks into a bit of a pop-culture item. It surely isn’t fluff… the mask is awaiting FDA approval, and it comes fitted with replaceable HEPA filters made by Honeywell – a company that’s built itself on designing the world’s greatest HVAC systems. The pop-culture element comes from rapper and Black Eyed Peas member Will.i.am, who aims to turn the XUPERMASK into a renegade pair of wireless earphones too.

As far as the face-mask part of the design is concerned, the XUPERMASK sports a universal fit, thanks to a silicone face-seal and a high-performance elastic strap that wraps around your head. The mask is outfitted with dual-fans that work at 3-speed settings to deliver purified air directly to your face as you breathe. Air is pushed through a set of pleated HEPA filters manufactured by Honeywell, and the filters are designed to be replaced every 30 days for optimal performance. The fans themselves run for an impressive 7 hours on a full charge, providing enough usage to get you through most of your day… and to seal the deal, the mask even sports glowing LED rings around each fan for that futuristic appeal.

Aside from being just a face-mask, the XUPERMASK (pronounced Supermask, if you’re still wondering) also packs a pair of wireless earphones too. The earphones emerge from the sides of the mask, and can be docked on the mask itself on designated magnetic panels. When you want to wear them, just pop the earphones off and place them in your ear. The earphones come with Bluetooth 5.0, pairing seamlessly with any smart-device. They come with active noise-canceling (pretty impressive for a face-mask), and even house an integrated noise-reduction microphone for things like answering calls or sending voice-messages. There’s no indication of where this microphone is located, but I’d be thoroughly impressed if it was within the mask’s enclosure itself. It would essentially mean you could talk while wearing the mask and not have your voice get muffled.

The XUPERMASK comes in two colors for now – one in pure black, and another in a white + orange combination. Just visually, it does look pretty impressive. The LED rings, metallic fan covers, and those magnetic earbuds, all set the XUPERMASK apart. The mask even comes with a set of controls built on either side, allowing you to toggle fan speed, the LED light, switch on/off the ANC feature, and do basic things like answer calls or play-pause music. Off the top of my head, a fan-powered face-mask with earphones does sound like a crazy idea that might just work, and with the XUPERMASK, Honeywell and Will.i.am are betting on a future where masks will still be a common outdoor face-accessory… in which case, having wireless earphones built into your face-mask just sounds a tad bit more sensible. The XUPERMASK is currently available in two sizes, and for a retail price of $299. The mask comes as a part of a XUPERKIT (I’m guessing the nomenclature was Will.i.am’s idea), which includes a carry-case, 3 months worth of replaceable HEPA filters, a USB charging cable, and replaceable earphone tips for different ear-sizes. The XUPERMASK hasn’t received FDA approval yet, but it has been granted authorization for emergency use.

Designers: will.i.am & Jose I. Fernandez in partnership with Honeywell

This portable ‘smart’ spray bottle can turn regular water into sanitizer!





Relying on a process that turns regular tap water into Electrolysed (EO) water, the IOON spray gives you an instant, effective, non-toxic sanitizer that you can spray on everything from your hands to door-handles, and from elevator buttons to cutlery (and even food!)

When electrolyzed or ionized, water breaks down into a solution of hypochlorous acid and sodium hydroxide, which acts as a remarkable detergent and disinfectant, instantly killing bacteria, cleansing off harmful chemicals from food, purifying the air, as well as busting odors. The technology, which has existed for over 4 decades, creates an all-purpose cleaning solution that replaces the need for carpet-cleaners, floor-cleaners, room-fresheners, car-fresheners, fruit and vegetable purifiers, and general disinfectants. Needless to say, the electrolyzed water is food-safe, child-safe, and eliminates the need to clean your house with chemicals that aren’t healthy… and the IOON, a small, portable spraying device, can electrolyze and spray the water directly from within its hand-held, wireless form factor.

The IOON comes with a small, replaceable silver-ion cartridge that aids in the electrolysis/ionization process. The cartridge lasts anywhere from 9-12 months depending on how often you use it, and it forms the only replaceable part of the entire design. The rest of the IOON sanitizer is for keeps, lasting you years while a small sanitizer bottle could just do the job for months before being thrown away. Using the IOON is simple… just fill it up with any kind of water and ensure that the IOON device is charged (using the MicroUSB charging port below). Once charged, the IOON takes about 20 minutes to ionize the water, making it potent enough to last up to 3 full days. Once ionized, the water is just as good as, if not more effective than your isopropyl-alcohol sanitizer… except it’s also safe on the skin, non-toxic, food-grade, can replace a bunch of other household disinfectants, and can even eliminate odor by dismantling odor molecules. When it’s done, the tiny bottle slips right into your pocket or bag, letting you carry it anywhere and sanitize anything!

Designer: IOON

Medical innovations that are boosting and transforming modern healthcare: Part 2

As 2021 ushered in, all of us started focusing on our health more and more. We didn’t want to make the same mistakes as we did in the past, which led to a virus taking over and shutting down our entire world! The medical industry has been making leaps and jumps in its innovations, to ensure such a brutal pandemic doesn’t occur again. Designers have been coming up with new and improved, life-saving medical designs that not only boost medical care but relieve some of the pressure from our tireless medical force. From a stethoscope that detects the early signs of arthrosis to an ambulance that tactfully avoids traffic, these designs tackle a variety of problems in the health and medical field. They’re a boon to modern healthcare and a reminder that we cannot take our health for granted any longer!

dab_ecg_3

Literally, the size of a quarter, Adam Miklosi’s Dab is an unobtrusive Holter ECG/EKG that rests comfortably on your chest, constantly reading your heart’s movements. Designed to be minimal, non-invasive, and simple, the Dab tries to bridge the gap between medical appliances and wearables. Its tiny yet classy design sits on your chest via a gel patch, while the electrodes capture your heart activity. The Dab’s dry-electrodes allow it to be used and reused, while constantly measure one’s heart activity (requiring periodic charging via their wireless charging hub), and keep logs of accurate readings, quietly sitting on your chest while you absolutely forget that they’re even there in the first place!

ring1

The conceptual prosthetic leg aims to make the otherwise rigid medical equipment more flexible especially to fit seamlessly in the life of a growing child. The user will wear the leg and it can be adjusted as they grow to make sure the fit is always optimal and comfortable. “Ring achieves this thanks to an adjustable foot portion to ensure an optimal stride as well as the upper portion that can be paired with additional rings to suit the person’s body as they grow and develop,” says Jeremic. Ring is a conversation starter that addresses the need for more modular healthcare equipment. Prosthetics like these make sure that individuals don’t need a whole new device every time they have a growth spurt!

This clever design safely transports spillable food for those with Parkinson’s disease. Designed by Jonas Krämer and Ayla Warncke, the Foodsling facilitates the transport of spillable foods for everyone but it was specially designed keeping in mind people who have to live with Parkinson’s disease. Due to the weakness of their musculoskeletal system, they often face mobility issues and need assistance with simple tasks like carrying their food bowls. The Foodsling is created for individual use so that it can be kept lightweight and small for the user’s ease. The designers are using soft silicone to make the final product and that will also incorporate transporting smaller vessels, the prototype already has an adjustable diameter. The Foodsling can be carried with one hand, enabling the user to hold a walking aid in the other hand. The designers carried out tests with people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease and while the design works for most of them, each person’s intensity and experience with the disease is different so we must remember that this is not one size fits all but it will be one size that fits all bowls!

The Auvis is a digital stethoscope that is structured to detect early signs of arthrosis. The instrument has built-in sensors to catch sounds emitted by joints, making it easier to pick up degenerating cartilage inside them. The arthrosis that this digital stethoscope intends to detect is a non-inflammatory degenerative condition that’s mainly associated with aging. It occurs as a person grows older and the joint cartilage becomes rugged and begins to wear out. Since, the designer says, “cartilage degeneration, the starting point of arthrosis, can neither be seen on X-Ray nor MRT,” the Auvis presents itself as a viable med gadget. Degenerating cartilage tends to generate sounds that the sensors on the Auvis can pick up to let a physician interpret the feedback and give the diagnosis. Like an ordinary stethoscope, Auvis also comprises an examining tool and a neckpiece – the only difference being, these are wirelessly connected and offer an unrestricted opportunity to examine various joints on the body.

FebriSol is an adhesive sticker designed to help HIV+ patients take their daily medicines without fail. Forgetfulness is one of the major reasons HIV+ patients do not adhere to their treatment. It’s difficult to remember to take medication daily, especially when a condition requires lifelong treatment. FebriSol, developed by Ricky Stoch – a student at the Royal College of Art, is an adhesive sticker that goes right on top of the packaging for antiretroviral medicines (ARVs). The sticker uses a series of 28 metallic scratch-patches to help patients keep a daily track of their medicine intake for 4 weeks. When patients take their pills, they scratch off the day’s metallic coating. This action reveals a tick indicating adherence and provides positive reinforcement. The FebriSol fits on both bottles as well as on pill-boxes and comes in a pack of multiple stickers that can go on new bottles/packaging after the old ones run out. Apart from allowing patients to remember to take their crucial medicines, the FebriSol even provides a historical record of any days that you potentially miss. While the sticker was initially developed for HIV+ patients, it can easily be modified and used to treat tuberculosis, hypertension, diabetes, depression, and many more chronic conditions that require steady, daily medication.

Helix, a collapsible syringe, was designed by Daniel López Velasco & Ithzel Libertad Cerón López as a green alternative to the disposable devices used in today’s health sector. A conventional syringe, those plastic tubes with the string-thin steel needle, requires the use of five different materials for construction including steel, polyethylene, rubber, resin, glue, and thermal dye. To make the construction process less laborious and costly, Helix is constructed from a single material: FlexiOH UV, a heat-curable type of silicone. To maintain Helix’s collapsible parts’ flexibility and the needle’s rigidity, the designers employed thermal-curing, a temperature-induced hardening process. Inspired by the ability to compact lots of volume and space through the paper-folding art of origami, Helix’s crystalline, silicone structure is able to carry liquids for vaccines and be emptied once collapsed. Medication can be poured into Helix through a vacuum loading inlet located above the needle’s rigid plunger. Then, when ready for use, the rigid plunger sinks down and compresses the collapsible plunger, successfully and safely administering the medication to the patient through the rigid silicone needle.

At this age, usually, a TYA patient would be moving out for school, getting their own space, experimenting with career options, and more but it all comes to a giant pause as their life suddenly revolves around health appointments. The constant monitoring and check-ups are bound to make anyone feel like they don’t have control over their life, and especially with a disease like cancer, so Pengu – a water bottle and pill holder hybrid – is a small product that can make a big impact by giving them a little control back. It helps to smoothly facilitate two critical things for the patient – taking their medication on time and hydrating enough. These two tasks are things the best of us forget all the time, but it is something vital for a patient’s recovery and therefore can’t be missed. With Pengu, the user will not have to feel conscious about having a big pillbox and the medicines will be easier to access compared to being in their bags. When the user starts to streamline their own basic needs of taking medication and drinking water, it starts to slowly build back their confidence about being able to leave home and readjust to life outside cancer. Besides, Pengu is sleek, minimal, and stylish so it takes away the feeling of “people are watching me when I have my pills.”

The California Institute of Technology is working on an electronic skin, a sensor-filled sticker, that can turn human sweat into energy enough to power basic devices like heart-rate sensors, glucose-level trackers, or even a low-energy Bluetooth radio. These stickers work by harvesting ‘lactate’ from the sweat we produce. The lactate is absorbed by the electronic skin’s fuel cells – which are made from carbon nanotubes that host a platinum/cobalt catalyst and an enzyme that uses oxygen in the air to break down the lactate into the water and a substance called pyruvate. CalTech’s researchers say these stickers can generate a continuous stream of energy (as much as “several milliwatts per square centimeter”), making it enough to offset the need for a battery, which the technology hopes to eventually replace.

How does an ambulance reach a victim in a road/highway accident when there are more than a dozen cars stuck in a traffic jam between the ambulance and the site of the accident? Up until now, the only solution was to drive in the opposite lane, weaving through oncoming traffic to get to the victim. A band of Korean designers created the Median AMB, a special ambulance that can directly reach the point of the accident without getting affected by the traffic congestion created by the accident. The Median AMB sits on the road divider/median and drives up and down the highway almost like a monorail. It features sliding doors on both sides, seating for a driver and an assistant, and an area for a stretcher that holds the victim. The Median AMB drives down the dividers, right to the victim’s location, picks them up, and brings them to a proper ambulance that can take the victim to the nearest hospital.

A century ago, not a soul would have imagined the advances in medical science we have achieved. Taking the evolution of medical surgeries a step further, MIT engineers have crafted an origami-inspired medical patch that can wrap around your internal organs with the utmost ease. This design makes it pretty useful in application to internal injuries or sensitive parts of the internal organs – airways, intestines, or hard-to-reach spaces. Aesthetically speaking, the design appears just like a foldable piece of paper; this patch contacts the tissues and organs. After that, it morphs into a thick gel that stays firmly on the injured area until it heals. The patch is made up of three layers – the top layer is an elastomer film consisting of zwitterionic polymers that become a water-based skin-like barrier. The middle layer is the bio-adhesive hydrogel having the compound NHS esters to form a strong bond with the tissue surface. The bottom layer is made up of silicone oil to prevent it from sticking to the body surface before reaching the intended target.

Multipurpose EDC lets you pull door handles, push buttons, and carry bags without touching anything





Ever wondered why pirates with severed arms had hooks in their place? I’ve often wondered too and the one conclusion I keep coming to is that the hook allows you to the most number of basic activities – from pushing to pulling, carrying, and occasionally swiping. Moreover, you could zipline with it, and that sort of sounds like something pirates do a lot. Looking at the award-winning Handy EDC, I’m often reminded of that hook. It isn’t really a replacement for the hand but is a clever extension of it, allowing you to conduct most of your outdoor activities without touching a single foreign surface. Developed as a result of the pandemic, the Handy is a clever little EDC that lets you do practically most activities that require pushing, pulling, carrying, or pressing.

Crafted from metal, Handy is an open-source tool designed to keep you safe and germ-free. Its simple design allows it to easily slip onto your fingers like brass knuckles, giving you a great degree of control. Hooks on the opposite end come with protruded dots for easily pressing buttons on a keypad or elevator, while the hooks themselves act as useful devices for pulling open doors, twisting handles, or even carrying bags. When all’s said and done, just slide Handy into your pocket, or better still, attach it to your keychain using its dedicated keychain-hole. Handy comes in two sizes, a larger one that’s open-source and 3D printable, and a smaller one that you can pre-order on designer Matteo Zallio’s website.

The Handy EDC is a winner of the International Design Award for the year 2020.

Designers: Matteo Zallio & Giulia Scagliotti