A glove has been developed to enhance examinations undertaken by doctors while maintaining a personal doctor-patient relationship.
The Glove Tricorder is a step between traditional checkups and a device which can automatically diagnose a patient. It is fitted with sensors to augment a standard physical exam, while keeping the human element in place.
The glove was designed as part of a graduate studies project called Med Sensation at Singularity University. The team was made up of engineering students Elishai Ezra and Fransiska Hadiwidjana, alongside Harvard medical student Andrew Bishara.
Their initial aim was to be able to enhance a standard doctor's examination with advanced diagnostic technology, but keep the personal, hands-on method for the comfort of the patient.
Next Generation Medical Glove
The Glove Tricorder consists of a partial glove fitted with numerous sensors on the palm and fingers able to detect vibrations, sound, temperature, force, and movement. These sensors collect data when the examiner moves their hand over the patient, which is then sent wirelessly to a separate device for analysis.
If the glove senses something of concern or the doctor is being too forceful, then an integrated buzzer will sound alerting them to the problem.
The sensors that the Glove Tricorder is equipped with means that it can apparently pick up a large range of issues, from heart valve irregularities to breast cancer. Depending on the affected body area, it could provide a diagnosis much more quickly than traditional methods.
The Med Sensation project is currently on the second glove prototype, with hopes to add more sensors and ultrasound probes, as well as adapting the technology to be used with standard latex gloves.
They eventually hope to develop the technology so that anyone is able to own a Glove Tricorder, and use it for self diagnosis. This means that breast examinations or checking out abdominal pain could be carried out without the patient leaving their home, or sports injuries assessed without the participant having to be taken to a medical facility first.
This device is not the only technology currently in development for automatically diagnosing patients. For example, the Scanadu Tricorder is small device to be used in conjunction with the screen and processing power of a smartphone. Without making contact with the patient, it could measure vital statistics and analyse infections with its hyper-spectral camera and microfluidic lab-on-a-chip, as well as processing blood and saliva samples.
In April 2007, Dr Peter Jansen of Canada also began building his own prototype of the Jansen Tricorder, with the third version begun in 2010 but was later abandoned.
However, the Med Sensation Glove Tricorder is unique in the combination of high tech automatic diagnosis, and hands-on, traditional method.
Image Copyright Med Sensation