From iWatch to FitBit, wearable technology that monitors clinical indicators in real time is becoming an accepted and ubiquitous method of aiding people to lead healthier lives. But the potential of wearable technology has barely been tapped. From skin patches that can sense stress levels, to jewelry that can warn against falls and other physiological dysfunctions that are the precursor to disease, such technology also has the potential to optimize performance of elite athletes, warfighters, the disabled, and aging populations. Robotics and simulation will also play roles in the next generation of independent technology.
BIO5 will leverage the expertise of engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, health sciences, and other alliances to advance the development of biosensors and wearable technologies, miniaturization and optimization of signal processing, power, and wireless communication systems, and development of signal processing, analysis, and bioinformatics. The promise of these technologies is to advance population health on a grand scale. With partners in the College of Medicine, Eller College of Management, Tech Launch Arizona, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, the UA will turn sensor responses into recommended actions to optimize health and performance, and will deploy new sensor systems to the clinic, field, and marketplace. In other areas, UA engineers and physicians are developing next generation technology- including robotics, artificial intelligence, simulation, and holographic images- that offers the opportunity to acquire data without physical touch – allowing patients to stay out of clinics and hospitals where the risk of acquired infections costs $20+B per year.
Dr. Marvin Slepian has spent much of his storied career involved with research related to the artificial heart and ventricular assist devices. He has developed and brought to the clinic a number of innovative technologies, using his unique and creative approach to biomedical problem solving. He has designed a number of "smart stents" for arteries with unique properties that make them more responsive to the clinical situation. Today, Slepian’s lab is developing a broad class of new materials known as “stretchable electronics.” Combining stretchy polymer plastic materials with thin electronics with redundant interconnects, novel “stretchable electronic polymer materials” allow the ability to sense and take action. These materials have a wide range of potential medical applicability – from wearable patches to internal implants.