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Fri Nov 10 07:03:03 PST 2023

Medgadget (Medical Technology) Daily Digest (Unofficial)


( Glasses Provide Audible Prompts for Blind Wearers
Nov 9th 2023, 13:19

A team at the University of Technology Sydney has developed an assistive technology for blind people and those with low vision. The system consists of glasses that can view their surroundings through an on-board camera, appraise the objects nearby using computer vision technology, and then play a sound that provides a cue for the wearer as to their surroundings. These “sound icons” could include a rustling sound when leaves are viewed, or a small bark when a dog appears, as examples. The technology could offer additional information on their environment for low vision wearers, and assist with daily tasks.

Technology that can reveal the world to those who are blind or have low vision is developing apace. Such systems have enormous potential in empowering such people to perform daily tasks, and render them less reliant on others for assistance, enhance their independence and confidence.

This latest technology is somewhat akin to the echolocation used by bats, although it relies on computer vision rather than soundwaves to identify nearby objects. However, sound is still used to communicate the identity of the viewed object in the form of sound icons.

“Smart glasses typically use computer vision and other sensory information to translate the wearer’s surrounding into computer-synthesized speech,” said Chin-Teng Lin, one of the creators of the new system. “However, acoustic touch technology sonifies objects, creating unique sound representations as they enter the device’s field of view. For example, the sound of rustling leaves might signify a plant, or a buzzing sound might represent a mobile phone,”  

So far, the researchers have tested the glasses with 14 participants. Of this group, half of the participants were blind or low sighted and the other half were fully sighted but wore a blindfold for the duration of the tests. The glasses allowed the wearers to successfully identify and grasp objects that were present within the field of view of the system.

“The auditory feedback empowers users to identify and reach for objects with remarkable accuracy,” said Howe Zhu, another researcher involved in the study. “Our findings indicate that acoustic touch has the potential to offer a wearable and effective method of sensory augmentation for the visually impaired community.”

Study in journal PLOS ONE: ( An investigation into the effectiveness of using acoustic touch to assist people who are blind

Via: ( University of Technology Sydney

( Magnetic Dressing Improves Diabetic Wound Healing
Nov 9th 2023, 13:00

Researchers at the National University of Singapore have developed a magneto-responsive hydrogel wound dressing that also contains two different regenerative cell types. The hydrogel is also embedded with magnetic particles that can be stimulated using an external magnetic field. The action of the magnetic field on the gel-encapsulated particles causes mechanical stresses within the gel to act on the cells, stimulating them to grow and enhancing their regenerative potential. The advanced dressing is intended to assist in healing diabetic wounds, which can be difficult to treat.

In diabetes, various issues can impair wound healing, leading to chronic wounds that are so difficult to treat that it is not uncommon for them to result in an amputation. Wound management and facilitating wound healing is particularly challenging in such patients. Part of the problem lies in the dressings that are used to cover such wounds.  

“Conventional dressings do not play an active role in healing wounds,” said Andy Tay, one of the lead researchers that developed the new dressing. “They merely prevent the wound from worsening and patients need to be scheduled for dressing change every two or three days. It is a huge cost to our healthcare system and an inconvenience to patients.”

To address this, these researchers have created an advanced diabetic wound dressing that aims to actively encourage wound healing. The hydrogel dressing contains keratinocytes, a cell type involved in skin repair and fibroblasts, which are a key component of connective tissue. Under normal circumstances, skin cells experience mechanical deformation as our skin moves, which stimulates them. However, patients with a wound may have lower mobility, which limits the ability of the cells within the wound to heal it.

These researchers have introduced the same mechanical deformation process into their hydrogel dressing. It contains a multitude of tiny magnetic particles. When the dressing is exposed to a magnetic field, the particles act to create mechanical stress on the cells. “What our team has achieved is to identify a sweet spot by applying gentle mechanical stimulation,” said Tay. “The result is that the remaining skin cells get to ‘work-out’ to heal wounds, but not to the extent that it kills them.”

In tests so far, this magnetic/mechanical stimulation increased cell growth rates by 240% and doubled the amount of collagen that the cells produced. “The approach we are taking not only accelerates wound healing but also promotes overall wound health and reduces the chances of recurrence,” said Tay.

A bandage pre-loaded with magnetic hydrogel is placed on the wound, and an external device is used to accelerate the wound healing process.

Study in journal Advanced Materials: ( Mechano‐Activated Cell Therapy for Accelerated Diabetic Wound Healing

Via: ( National University of Singapore

Forwarded by:
Michael Reeder LCPC
Baltimore, MD

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