Advanced technology is so ubiquitous that astronauts may soon have their own “repair shop” on the International Space Station, while surgeons put custom-fit replacement parts into and on your body.
With three-dimensional printers that use human cells in the process, doctors at Wake Forest University have manufactured tissue, muscles, ears and bones in 2016. The school’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine says its even close to spitting out hearts for transplants.
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, meanwhile, has rated as its top five medical-tech advancements for the year: a handheld optical scanner that can detect whether a mole may be cancerous; electronic asprin, a tiny implant that blocks neurotransmitters when a migraine headache begins; a skin patch that helps to read glucose levels in the blood and reduces the number of needle sticks that a diabetic would need; a robot that makes hospital rounds to check on patients, manage charts and record vital signs; and an aortic valve that can be threaded into place via an arterial catheter in the way stents have been installed for years.
Across the pond at the Imperial College London, Zoltan Takats developed the iKnife, a scalpel that provides instantaneous diagnostics of an organ, tissue or mass, while making an incision so small that blood loss is minimal or zero.