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Happy 2016 to our readers!

January 12, 2016

Looking forward as befits a New Year, the Nominet Trust, a previous SAMI client, recently nominated its top 100 technology advances benefitting mankind. We picked out those we think will be the most significant over the long term. Healthcare is probably the field where these innovations may be important signals of the future. We identified three major strands of development:

  • Better monitoring: as we reported in December, fitness and health monitoring is coming on in leaps and bounds; preventitive medicine  will get a huge boost, hopefully reducing the cost of the NHS. Nominet’s examples were
    • PulseGuard, a wristband that monitors heart rate changes, alerting carers to the onset of epileptic seizures;
    • Gene-RADAR, a portable nanotechnology device that can detect pathogens like Ebola, HIV and the flu
    • Brain Network Activation, a breakthrough in non-invasive brain mapping research which is potentially life-changing to people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or ADHD.
  • Bionics and augmentation: exoskeletons of one form or another to overcome physical deficiencies, and then to enhance capability beyond the norm.  Nominet’s examples include:
    • Ekso GT, a robotic exoskeleton that helps formerly wheelchair-bound patients to walk again;
    • Open Bionics, which makes affordable 3D-printed prosthetic hands;
    • GyroGlove, a gyroscopic glove that counteracts hand tremors, improving quality of life for those with Parkinson’s disease
    • Give Vision, the world’s first smart glasses interface that can be used by those who are visually impaired.
  • Social support and access to information: particularly as mental health moves up the agenda, social media support networks such as TalkLife, a youth peer-to-peer mental health network, and 7 Cups of Tea, an online emotional support service, will become commonplace.  Simply providing better information to pregnant women – as GiftedMom and TotoHealth do – can help reduce infant mortality in Africa, which itself leads to major social change.

And things can happen even faster where two trends merge – monitoring technology and genetic engineering together open the way for very targeted doses of personalised drugs and personalised metering of drug absorption. The full list is here

Nesta’s list of predictions for the year are always worth thinking about – and they review how they have done in earlier years – http://www.nesta.org.uk/news/2016-predictions – their

Take on 2016 is that – “we’ll see healthcare professionals prescribe video games to their patients, boutique food producers take on the supermarkets and the emergence of new challenge-driven universities which harness the collective problem solving capabilities of the world’s students.”

Written by Gill Ringland, SAMI Fellow and CEO.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of SAMI Consulting.

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