Five ‘hot spots’ where medicine and technology are converging

May 27, 2011

Medicine and technology are converging at a faster pace than most people realize, says New Jersey Institute of Technology Professor Atam Dhawan, chair of the the IEEE emerging technology committee.

Here are the five “hot spots” of convergence identified by Professor Dhawan:

Point of care health care technologies — connecting patients with healthcare professionals via computers.  This includes nursing engineering, health monitoring, e-health, and health care information management for disaster situations.

Optical imaging technologies — diagnosing and staging cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and other fibrotic diseases. This includes discovery and exploration of naturally existing molecular targets of diseases and the differences associated with the molecular targets between normal and diseased states, as well as diagnosis and treatment.

Bioelectronics, bio-nano-sensor technology, and neural engineering — increased knowledge of the nervous system, neurophysiology, and neurological disorders as well as the development of devices to interface with neural tissues.

Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine — the advent of stem cell-based therapies, regenerative medicine, and gene therapy.

Medical or bio-robots — nano, micro, and macro devices to assist in diagnosis, surgery, prosthetics, rehabilitation and personal assistance. This includes clinical, therapeutic, and surgical applications of medical robots with advanced instrumentation, sensors, actuators, and real-time systems.

Professor Dhawan prepared his comments as workshop chair for the upcoming 33rd IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) Annual International Conference.