Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

July 25, 2017

The Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

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2014: the year of wearable tech

On our wrists

Wristwatch computing isn’t new, but this may be the year the smartwatch either fizzles out like a netbook or becomes the latest must-have technology. Not surprisingly, all eyes are on the rumoured Apple iWatch. Will it be made of bendable glass that wraps around a person’s wrist? Will it stand alone or be a costly compliment to the iPhone? Competitors, meanwhile, are forging ahead with their own versions. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear works as an add-on to their latest phones. You can phone, text, take photos and download about 70 apps, including Snapchat, the 10-second video-sharing app which has parents already wondering how long it’ll take their teens to demand a smartwatch. $330, samsung.com/ca.

Over our eyes

Google goes for the jugular or, in the case of the Google Glass, the retina. The launch of the Glass has been strategically slow: first Google showed it off to the fashion world via Glass-wearing models on the catwalk. Then, a group of everyday US citizens were selected to test-drive a pair. Soon videos surfaced of everyone from DJs to moms going about their business, occasionally fixating wide-eyed and saying “Okay Glass,” the words that activate the device, request a search or call a friend. We’re supposedly a few months away from the Glass’s public launch and it’s probably no surprise that what two years ago sounded silly may well become the new normal. google.com/glass/start.

As fingers

We’ll learn more about the abilities of 3D printing this year. News headlines scream everything about the odder uses of the technology, from hamburger meat containing printed protein to a printed metal gun firing 50 rounds. Yet some of your Canadian colleagues are busy researching the medical potential to one day recreate joints using a patient’s tissue or to print skin cells. The applications don’t end there. Today, anyone who’s lost fingers or parents of kids born with Amniotic Band Syndrome can go to Thingiverse, a website maintained by the 3D home printing company MakerBot and freely download the plans for the robohand. With a 3D printer, it’ll cost you about $150 in parts. thingiverse.com.

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