Biomedical Engineering Achievements in Lithuania: Support for NASA Astronauts and Disease Prevention

Important | 2017-08-10

The importance of science in solving problems of modern society is undeniable. For example, one of the most challenging aspects of contemporary society is ageing. Humanity faces particular challenges with an aging society – from health monitoring and non-invasive diagnosis to improving everyday life of the elderly. Biomedical engineering is a field of science, which is acknowledging these challenges, while trying to find the best solutions. In recent years, numerous new technological solutions have been made in Lithuania.

 

Biomedical Engineering Achievements in Lithuania: Support for NASA Astronauts and Disease Prevention

The importance of science in solving problems of modern society is undeniable. For example, one of the most challenging aspects of contemporary society is ageing. Humanity faces particular challenges with an aging society – from health monitoring and non-invasive diagnosis to improving everyday life of the elderly. Biomedical engineering is a field of science, which is acknowledging these challenges, while trying to find the best solutions. In recent years, numerous new technological solutions have been made in Lithuania.

Computer tomography, magnetic resonance, heart stimulators, artificial limbs, intelligent health monitoring devices – all these achievements belong to biomedical engineering of the last century. Is it possible to create something more useful, practical and more intelligent?

Increasing number of vacancies in the area of biomedical engineering (The US Department of Labor estimates 23% growth of vacancies in the field of biomedical engineering in the next decade) and worldwide popularity of biomedical engineering studies shows that achievements in this area will be as impressive in the near future.

There are only a few study programs in Lithuania in the field of biomedical engineering, Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) undergraduate and master’s programmes are among the most popular in the field. Students at KTU can not only benefit from carrying out their research projects in the state-of-the-art laboratories at KTU Santaka Valley, but also learn from the top-class biomedical engineering researchers, the authors of the inventions listed below.

Bathroom Scales Informing about Life-Threatening Conditions

Bathroom scales is a typical attribute in many homes, and is used as a part of everyday routine. Why not to use this ordinary device for health monitoring?

Inspired by this idea, the team of researchers at Kaunas University of Technology Institute of Biomedical Engineering improved body composition scales which now can measure a person’s pulse through sensors touching his/her hands and feet. Evaluating the speed at which blood travels from heart to feet, it is possible to determine the condition of human arteries.

Also, the scientists aim to integrate one more function into these scales – the scales could work as a non-invasive device to detect increased amount of potassium in the blood. This potentially life-threatening condition is especially important for those having kidney diseases; if connected to a smart device, the scales could also inform a doctor, who could arrange an urgent dialysis session for the patient.

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Glucose Meter to Avoid Needles

Gluco Carer, which can non-invasively detect the amount of glucose in the blood could become a true relief for people living with diabetes. Those, suffering from this condition, have to measure their blood sugar by taking blood with needles 6-12 times a day.

According to the team of researchers at Kaunas University of Technology, who are developing Gluco Care, this meter would solve a huge problem for people with diabetes – the old painful method would be changed to a non-invasive simple procedure.

Support for Flatfeet Prevention

Flatfeet condition is a problem for both young and elderly. Mobile foot pressure measuring device, created at Kaunas University of Technology, allows foot load monitoring in a real-time, and helps diagnose health problems such as flattening or irregular gait. Using the device, data is sent to a computer via Bluetooth, where it is processed and displayed. The device allows to monitor the health condition of children suffering from cerebral palsy and other health problems.

At the moment, scientists are looking for the possibilities to integrate foot pressure measurement device into a footwear without causing any additional inconvenience for the user wearing it for a longer period of time.

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Non-Invasive Brain Pressure Meter – Salvation for Astronauts

One third of astronauts going to the space station for several days suffer from brain swelling. This results in squeezing of the eyeball and losing concentrated eyesight. The syndrome is not thoroughly examined and managed. Researchers at Kaunas University of Technology, headed by Professor Arminas Ragauskas, European Inventor Award 2016 finalist, are developing a device which would allow to investigate the process of brain swelling in microgravity.

Non-invasive brain pressure meter is being tested by NASA, which was looking for technological solutions enabling to observe astronauts before, after and during the flight. Head pressure measurement device invented by the scientists of Kaunas University of Technology is already being used in EU, USA and Switzerland.

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Virtual Assistant for Better Swimming Results

Ovao is a virtual training assistant which provides real-time coaching based on user-selected workout intensity levels. It is very easy to use: all you have to do is to download the app, attach the device to swimming goggles and to follow instructions.

If instructions are used properly, workout efficiency is increased and better results can be achieved at the same time.

Ovao is a start-up created and developed at Kaunas University of Technology laboratories by the team of KTU graduates and researchers. The product – a unique instant optical heart rate monitor with information displayed on swimming goggles – is currently under development.

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