Open Surgery Initiative Aims to Build DIY Surgical Robots

Medical equipments can be really expensive because of the R&D involved and resulting patents, low manufacturing volume, government regulations, and so on. Developed countries can normally afford those higher costs, but for many it may just be prohibitively expensive. The Open Surgery initiative aims to mitigate the costs by “investigating whether building DIY surgical robots, outside the scope of healthcare regulations, could plausibly provide an accessible alternative to the costly professional healthcare services worldwide”. The project is composed of member from the medical, software, hardware, and 3D printing communities, is not intended for (commercial) application, and currently serves only academic purposes. Commercial surgical robots can cost up to $2,000,000, but brings benefits like smaller incisions, reduced risks of complications and readmissions, and shorter hospital stays thanks to a faster recovery process. There have already been several attempts within the robotics community to come up with cheaper and more portable surgical […]

FOSDEM 2017 Open Source Meeting Schedule

FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting) is a 2-day free event for software developers to meet, share ideas and collaborate that happens on the first week-end of February, meaning it will take place on February 4 & 5, 2017 this year. FOSDEM 2017 will features 608 speakers, 653 events, and 54 tracks, with 6 main tracks namely: Architectures, Building, Cloud, Documentation, Miscellaneous, and Security & Encryption. I won’t be there, but it’s always interesting to look at the schedule, and I made my own virtual schedule focusing especially on talks from “Embedded, mobile and automotive” and “Internet of Things” devrooms. Saturday 4, 2017 11:00 – 11:25 – Does your coffee machine speaks Bocce; Teach your IoT thing to speak Modbus and it will not stop talking, by Yaacov Zamir There are many IoT dashboards out on the web, most will require network connection to a server far […]

Sensors Predicting The Future – Elderly Persons Fall Prediction and Detection with Kinect, Webcams and Microphones

Wearables can be used your young children or elderly persons to monitoring their locations or health, and one use case, especially for old age persons, is to detect falls. However, it’s quite possible they don’t like it and/or not always wear it, so the Center for Eldercare and Technology of the University of Missouri designed a system based on Microsoft Kinect, two webcams, and microphones in order to detect falls, and even predict falls by analyzing gait, i.e. the pattern of movement of the limbs. The picture above shows at least part of the hardware setup with the Kinect, a webcam, and a PC  tower doing the processing stored in a cupboard. Fall detection algorithms are relying on the microphone array, Microsoft Kinect depth camera, and a two-webcam system used to extract silhouettes from orthogonal views and construct a 3D voxel model for analysis. Passive gait analysis algorithms are for […]

Project OWL Open Source Hardware Ophthalmoscope is 25 Times Cheaper than Commercial Products

Medical grade equipments are usually very expensive, partly because of their complexity, but also because of certifications,   legal reasons, and low manufacturing volumes. That’s where open source hardware can make a big difference, and there has been several open source hardware prosthetic hands or arms such as Openbionics hand, but Ebin Philip and his team has tackled another issue with Project OWL, an open indirect ophthalmoscope (OIO) designed for screening retinal diseases, which normally costs between $10,000 to $25,000, but their open source hardware design can be put together for about $400. The design features a Raspberry Pi 2 board connected to a WaveShare 5″ Touchscreen LCD, a Raspberry Pi Pi IR Camera (M12 lens mount) with 16mm FL M12 lens, a 3 Watt Luxeon LED, two 50x50mm mirrors, a linear polarizer sheet, a 20 Dioptre disposable lens, and various passive components. While the Raspberry Pi board is not open […]

TW68 Smart Bracelet Measures Blood Pressure and Heart Rate for $22 and Up

Some people may need to frequently measure their blood pressure because of their health condition, but it’s often a cumbersome experience, so they may get lazy, and not do it as often as needed. TW68 smart bracelet should make this easy, as it’s your typical fitness tracker with an heart rate monitor, but adding the capability to also measure blood pressure. It’s also very cheap, and I first found it on DealExtreme where it sells for just $24. TW68 specifications: MCU – Nordic Semi NRF51822 ARM Cortex M0 micro-controller with 2.4 GHz radio Data Storage – 7 days detailed data, 23 days total data Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 LE Display – 0.49″ OLED display Sensors –  PixArt-PAH8001EI blood pressure sensor; 6-axis Invensense-MPU6500 accelerometer and gyroscope Function Health tracker: Blood pressure measurement, Heart rate monitor, Pedometer, Sleep tracker Other functions: Call/Message notification, Fall reminder, Social sharing, Time, Alarm clock Misc – […]

Intrinsyc Open-Q 600 Single Board Computer is Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Processor

Intrinsyc has released several Qualcomm Snapdragon development kits and system-on-modules over the last few years, and the company has now unveiled their first single board computer with Open-Q 600 SBC powered by Snapdragon 600 quad core processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB eMMC flash. Open-Q 600 specifications: SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064) quad core Krait 300 processor @  1.7GHz with 2MB L2 cache, Adreno 320 GPU, and Hexagon QDSP6V4 DSP System Memory – 2GB PCDDR3 RAM @ 533MHz; dual channel 32-bit Storage – 16GB eMMC 4.5 flash, micro SD card slot Video Output / Display I/F – HDMI 1.4a port for up to 1080p @ 60Hz, 2-lane MIPI-DSI connector Audio – HDMI, 3.5mm stereo headset output with mono input, 3.5mm Mic line in; Qualcomm WCD9311 audio codec Camera – 2-lane MIPI-CSI connector supporting  8 MP camera up to WXGA resolution @ 60 fps Connectivity Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45) via Qualcomm […]

Omron Project Zero BP6000 is Both a Blood Pressure Monitor and a Smartwatch

Many smartwaches or fitness trackers include an heart rate monitor, but instead many people need to monitor their blood pressure to make sure it’s not too high (hypertension) or low (hypotension). Usually this involves either going to the doctor, or doing measurements at home with a blood pressure monitor by placing a cuff on the upper arm, and in this should take a short time, but many people may still not want to bother with the procedure. So Omron has designed a new blood pressure monitor that looks like a large smartwatch, and includes the same function as fitness monitors, in order to simply the process further, and have more people regularly measure their blood pressure. Technical details about Project Zero wrist blood pressure monitor (BPM) are not fully available yet, but we do now the company is going through FDA approval, so contrary to gadgets with heat rate monitors […]

Samsung S3FBP5A Bio-Processor Targets Fitness Tracking Wearables

We now have many wearables capable of monitoring your activities, be it smartwatches or fitness tracker, and usually they are comprised of several small sensor chips, a low power micro-controller, a Bluetooth radio, and possibly some other ICs . Samsung has been designing and just launched a bio-processor to regroup most of those features into a single chip which should only require a fourth of the area required by current multi-chip solutions. While the press release did not mention the part number, the included picture – shown above – sort of gave a clue, and Samsung S3FBP5A bio-processor has the following specifications: MCU – ARM Cortex-M4 Memory – 256 KB RAM Storage – 512 KB flash DSP Sensors – 5 Analog frontends (AFEs) measuring: PPG (photoplethysmography) ECG (electrocardiography) Skin temperature BIA (bioelectrical impedance analysis) Galvanic skin response (GSR) I/Os – SPI, I2C PMIC Security units The sensors will enable measurements […]

ASUS Tinker board - Raspberry Pi alternative