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Posted on July 13, 2017

Wearable to see the inner workings of the body

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A startup called Openwater has a goal to create a wearable to enable us to see the inner workings of the body and brain at high resolution. Using novel opto-electronics Openwater aims to replace the functionality of MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) with a true wearable enabling constant monitoring. Implications are broad for detection and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, internal bleeding, mental diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and beyond - for communication via thought.
 
Openwater uses an unconventional approach to leapfrog MRI technology by using the scattering of the body or the brain itself to focus infrared light to scan the brain or body bit by bit or voxel by voxel. This is enabled by LCDs with pixels small enough to create reconstructive holographic images that neutralize the scattering and enable scanning at MRI resolution and depth coupled with the use of body-temperature detectors. These LCDs and detectors line the inside of a ski-hat, bandage or other clothing. They are making their own LCDs to do this in the vast factories that make liquid crystal displays - custom designed to modulate the interference of intensity and phase in the near infrared regime with the video-rate computer generated holograms integrated with embedded detectors. This basic system can be used in reverse, to write, to focus light to any area of interest in the body or brain (to irradiate tumors for example).
 
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This technology enables continuous scanning of the body and brain in the form of a true wearable the size of a ski-hat or bandage. The implications of this architecture are profound for healthcare and can even enable communication with thought alone (as has been well documented by neuroscientists using the room size MRI scanners). With read/write ability - the researchers suggest they may be able to upload/download and augment our memories, thoughts and emotions with a ski-hat form factor, non-invasively.
 
A very limited number of prototypes will be released next year to early access partners.
 
Source and top image: Openwater
Top image: Wikipedia
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Wearable USA 2017 External Link on 15 - 16 Nov 2017 in Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, USA hosted by IDTechEx.