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IBM Research shows how health insights may come from fingernail wearable

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By Nancy Cohen

A tiny fingernail sensor has been worked up that monitors diseases and movement disorders. IBM Research tells their prototype story.

The IBM team designed the tiny fingernail sensors to help clinicians detect and monitor the progression of disease via AI analysis and grip strength. Why choose fingernails as the window to what is happening in our bodies? Two of the researchers, Stephen Heisig and Katsuyuki Sakuma, discussed this on an IBM site.

 

They said, “Since nails are so tough, we decided to glue a sensor system to a fingernail without worrying about any of the issues associated with attaching to skin.

Our dynamometer experiments demonstrated we could extract a consistent enough signal from the nail to give good grip force prediction in a variety of grip types.”

Why focus on grip? This device, attached to a fingernail, performs a continuous measurement of how the person’s fingernail bends and moves, in every-day activities such as opening a jar or chopping, which in turn is an indicator of grip strength. How can that reveal so much?

Actually, said IBM, grip strength is a useful metric in various health issues. Examples include (1) effectiveness of medication for Parkinson’s disease (2) the degree of cognitive function in schizophrenics and (3) mortality in geriatrics.

Sensors are involved in this setup along, with data delivered to an app. The information deals with such factors as pressure and motion.

“Our system consists of strain gauges attached to the fingernail and a small computer that samples strain values, collects accelerometer data and communicates with a smart watch.”

SiliconANGLE described their components, as two parts: “The first is a compact computer that sits atop a user’s finger, while the other is an array of strain gauges meant to be attached to the fingernail. The strain gauges record the subtle ways the fingernail moves and changes its shape as the wearer uses their hands.”

Interestingly, the smartwatch form factor receives the information. “The smartwatch processes the data using artificial intelligence algorithms that IBM has developed specifically for the project,” said SiliconANGLE.

This is where IBM’s smarts come into play: Analytics and machine learning identify patterns of grip strength, tremors and other symptoms. This essentially is offering a window on how the person’s brain and body are working.

SiliconANGLE said, “its AI can not only identify abnormal movements but also distinguish between different activities. The software is accurate enough to tell, among other things, if the user is writing and even determine when they’re drawing numerical digits.”

Two of the researchers, Stephen Heisig and Katsuyuki Sakuma, wrote on the IBM site: “It turns out that our fingernails deform – bend and move—in stereotypic ways when we use them for gripping, grasping, and even flexing and extending our fingers. This deformation is usually on the order of single digit microns and not visible to the naked eye. However, it can easily detected with strain gauge sensors.”

The eight-member team’s paper has the details of their health monitor prototype, and it is titled, “Wearable Nail Deformation Sensing for Behavioral and Biomechanical Monitoring and Human-Computer Interaction,” published in Scientific Reports. Katsuyuki Sakuma, Avner Abrami, Gaddi Blumrosen, Stanislav Lukashov, Rajeev Narayanan, Joseph Ligman, Vittorio Caggiano and Stephen Heisig are the authors.

“Here we describe a wearable strain sensor, associated electronics, and software to detect and interpret the kinematics of deformation in human fingernails,” they wrote. “To the best of our knowledge, no system has integrated both nail strain and accelerometer information to explore human hand biomechanics and enabled an unconstrained human-computer interaction.”

Some of the tech-watching sites drew on the bigger picture view of what this could mean at a time when technology intersects with healthcare—namely, an interesting interface that could add some momentum to wearables in healthcare.


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Novel microscope can non-invasively diagnose, treat diseases:Study

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Scientists have developed a specialised microscope that has the potential to diagnose diseases like skin cancer as well as perform precise surgery without making any incisions in the skin.

According to the study published in the journal Science Advances, the microscope allows medical professionals to pinpoint the exact location of an abnormality, diagnose it and treat it instantly.

“Our technology allows us to scan tissue quickly, and when we see a suspicious or abnormal cell structure, we can perform ultra-precise surgery and selectively treat the unwanted or diseased structure within the tissue – without cutting into the skin,” said Yimei Huang from the University of British Columbia in Canada.

 

It could be used to treat any structure of the body that can be reached by light and requires extremely precise treatment, including nerves or blood vessels in the skin, eye, brain or other vital structures, researchers said.

“For diagnosing and scanning diseases like skin cancer, this could be revolutionary,” said Harvey Lui, professor at the University of British Columbia.

The study shows that the device allows imaging of living tissue up to about one millimetre in depth using an ultrafast infrared laser beam.

Researchers said that this microscope, however, is different from previous technology due to its capability to not only digitally scan living tissue, but also treat the tissue by intensifying the heat produced by the laser.

“We can alter the pathway of blood vessels without impacting any of the surrounding vessels or tissues,” said Lui.

The researchers also said that their aim is to make multiphoton microscope technology more versatile while also increasing its precision.

“We wanted to be able to identify what was happening under the skin from many different angles and to have the capability of imaging different body sites,” said Haishan Zeng from the University of British Columbia.

Developments of a miniature version of the telescope that could be used to perform microscopic examinations and treatment during endoscopy are also underway, researchers said.

“We are not only the first to achieve fast video-rate imaging that enables clinical applications, but also the first to develop this technology for therapeutic uses,” said Zeng

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Black Shark 2 gaming smartphone coming to India on May 27:Report

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After Asus and Nubia, Black Shark is set to launch a high-end gaming smartphone in India. According to BGR India, Black Shark has already started sending invites for the launch of Black Shark 2. The gaming phone will reportedly launch in India on May 27.

Black Shark 2 was launched in March and is already available for sale in China. The phone is the second-generation gaming smartphone and a follow-up to the Black Shark Helo.

This will be the first ever gaming smartphone from Black Shark to launch in the country. In case you are not aware, Black Shark is a sub-brand of Xiaomi.

 

As expected, this is a premium smartphone with top-of-the-line specifications. The device boasts a 6.39-inch AMOLED display with a 2340 x 1080 and a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The entire display, according to the company, is pressure sensitive. This means gamers can map onto the display that reacts to different levels of pressure
Under the hood, it is powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor coupled with either 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage or 12GB RAM and 256GB of storage. There’s also a 4,000mAh battery with 27W fast charging support, a 48MP/12MP rear camera setup, and a 20MP front-facing camera.

It also features an in-display fingerprint scanner, similar to the OnePlus 7 Pro and Galaxy S10+. Black Shark 2 also comes with Liquid Cooling 3.0, a vapor cooling system similar to what the Razer Phone 2 uses. The company also plans to sell optional accessories with the Black Shark 2 in India.

The launch of Black Shark 2 comes at a time when the popularity of mobile games like PUBG and Fortnite at the all-time high in India. The gaming smartphone will take on the likes of the Asus ROG Phone and Nubia Red Magic. Interestingly, ZTE’s sub-brand Nubia is also expected to launch the Red Magic 3 in India in the coming days.

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Tara Sutaria obsessed with makeup

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Actress Tara Sutaria, who has wooed the audience with her stylish and glamorous looks in her debut film ‘Student of the Year 2’, says she loves to do makeup. “I am completely obsessed with makeup. I love to experiment different cosmetic products.

I even check social media to have a look at trending makeup and fashion styles…So that I don’t miss out anything,” Tara told IANS. She has also shared her own makeup style.

“During day time, I prefer to have a natural look…So I opt for minimal makeup. At night, I like to go a little bold,” added Tara, who has been appointed brand ambassador for the global brand, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, in India. Ater putting on makeup, the 23-year-old makes sure to keep herself hydrated as much as possible.

 

“The most important thing to do is to keep youself hydrated. So when I apply makeup, I make sure to drink ample amount of water. And it is very much important to take off your makeup from your skin completely before heading to sleep. Cleansing, toning and moisturising is my skin care ritual.” On the work front, Tara will next be seen in ‘Marjaavaan’.

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