Could winged microchips monitor for airborne disease?

The flying microchips are each the size of a grain of sand. [Image courtesy of the Rogers Research Group/Northwestern University]Northwestern University engineers have created what they claim are the smallest-ever human-made flying structures — winged microchips that could monitor the air for disease and pollution.

Engineering professor John Rogers and his team at Northwestern drew on inspiration from nature to create the microchips, which are the size of a grain of sand. The chips do not have engine-driven propellers. Instead, their wings catch the wind like maple tree or dandelion seeds; the most direct inspiration came from the star-shaped seeds of the tristellateia plant, a flowering vine.

The research appeared on the cover of the September 23 issue of Nature.

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Could people one day get pacemakers that dissolve into the body?

Wireless, battery-free, fully implantable pacemakers made of bioresorbable components could represent the future of temporary pacing technology.

The device, seen here mounted on the heart, could benefit post-cardiac surgery patients. [Image courtesy of Rogers Lab/Northwestern University]Flexible, dissolvable electronics could soon pave the way for temporary pacemaker wearers to avert the risks associated with surgical procedures from initial implantation to the removal of the device once its job is done.

Northwestern and George Washington universities have developed what they say is the first-ever transient pacemaker that’s not only wireless, battery-free and fully implantable — but also disappears when it’s no longer needed. Its biocompatible components can naturally absorb into the body over five to seven weeks eliminating the need for surgical removal.

In a study published on June 28 in Nature Biotechnology, researchers demonstrated the device’s efficacy…

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These researchers adapted a stroke patient device for COVID-19

Designed to detect speech and swallowing problems, the device has found a new use in tracking cough frequency to alert healthcare providers that frontline workers may need to be tested for SARS-COV-2.

(Image courtesy of Northwestern University)

Researchers in Chicago have adapted a flexible patch they developed to monitor stroke patients for swallowing trouble to help detect symptoms of COVID-19.

They’re hoping it can help physicians decide whether frontline healthcare workers have developed symptoms of the novel coronavirus so they can prevent the illness from worsening. In their “Lost on the Frontline” series, Kaiser Health News and The Guardian have reported 922 U.S. healthcare worker deaths that likely stemmed from caring for COVID-19 patients.

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Eko lands $2.7m federal grant for heart disease detection study

Eko announced today that it received a $2.7 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Oakland, Calif.-based Eko said in a news release that the grant will be used to fund its collaborative work with Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute as they validate algorithms to help screen for pathologic heart murmurs and valvular heart disease during routine office visits.

Eko and Northwestern announced their collaboration in March 2019 in an effort to find a low-cost option for identifying patients with heart disease without screening tools like echocardiograms.

This year alone, Eko received FDA approval in January for its suite of algorithms that combine with the company’s digital stethoscopes to screen for heart conditions, then in March it won FDA emergency use authorization for its novel ECG-based algorithm that screens for low ejection fraction in COVID-19 patients.

“This SBIR …

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