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Mobile devices are no longer just for communication and entertainment. Companies and institutions both public and private are developing exciting new machines for a wide range of medical uses.
Researchers at Columbia University recently unveiled the mChip, a portable, inexpensive blood testing kit that can diagnose HIV or syphilis from just a drop of blood. This miniature lab, which includes a blood collection well, reservoirs of chemical reagents, and a color-coded results display, is made possible by a mobile microfluidic chip. Because it’s tiny – the size of a credit card – the mChip is ideal for use in developing regions with little access to capital or healthcare services. Each unit costs only $1 and provides results as accurate as those provided by full-size labs – and in just 20 minutes.
Another new mobile medical device, the Gene-Z, has the ability to screen for cancer markers in the field at very low cost. Developed by researchers at Michigan State University, this handheld, battery-powered unit works in conjunction with an iPod Touch or Android-based tablet to analyze genetic markers for changes linked to cancer and other health issues. The Gene-Z is solar rechargeable and intended for use in such low-resource areas as Africa and the rural United States.
And then there’s the FDA-approved portable hemodialysis machine that’s just been developed by NxStage Medical. Until now, patients with kidney disorders had to visit dialysis centers once or twice a week or rely on bulky home units. This new device promises to be far more manageable. It measures just over a foot tall and requires no special equipment beyond tap water and the unit itself, enabling patients or caregivers to provide treatment at home or while on vacation.
Promoting these revolutionary new devices will require effective marketing, positioning and promotion by experienced professionals who can line up launch events, trade shows and conferences to get the word out.
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