Mark Bridge writes:
Dr ‘Bones’ McCoy moves an electronic device over a patient’s leg encased in a plaster case. The device immediately identifies swelling within the cast, alerting the doctor to take action.
But this isn’t a medical tricorder being used by the doctor. It’s a Google Nexus S mobile phone. And the situation isn’t set in the 23rd century. It’s now.
It’s all made possible by GENTAG, an American company that’s just announced a medical-grade wireless monitoring kit. This uses a tiny NFC sensor that’s capable of measuring temperature to within 0.1 C, pressure to within 1mm Hg... and can then send the data to an NFC-equipped smartphone. In this situation the sensor could be part of a patch stuck to the patient’s skin before the cast is applied - but future developments could see it embedded in artificial joints.
And it’s not just for medical staff. The GENTAG system means that patients with NFC phones could check themselves post-surgery, providing peace-of-mind without requiring a visit to the Out Patient department.
The technology is currently available for trials, with commercial production expected next year.