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Tech Envy: Connecting with the Body

Biomedical engineers at Duke University have created an artificial patch of heart tissue to mend areas damaged by a heart attack. The 3D artificial-tissue patch is made up of pluripotent stem cells (master cells) that can make any type of cell that the body needs. Combined with electrical properties, it can mimic the beating of the human heart.

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An innovation from The University of Texas at Austin detects cancerous tissue using a device about the size of a pen. The tool could potentially pick up molecules during surgery — without destroying tissue cells — and provide results in less than 10 seconds. The researchers have tested the pen on samples of human lung, thyroid, breast and ovarian cancers and in animals with cancer.

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Scientists at The University of Tokyo have created a wearable sensor to track patients’ vital signs — the sensor looks and feels like a temporary tattoo. It detects touch, monitors muscle activity and measures body temperature. The ultralight, breathable technology is designed to be comfortable and capable of being rubbed off with just a spritz of water. Potential applications include medicine and sports.

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