The way in which we approach healthcare is constantly evolving thanks to new applications of technology to the medical industry. Find out some of the most impressive developments that are expected to gain traction in 2017.

Liquid Biopsies

There is hope that blood tests will become one of the major forms of cancer diagnosis in the near future. Researchers from China, the US and a number of other countries are developing new, general-purpose tests to detect almost any form of cancer, a process could make it easier to detect the disease early on with minimal invasiveness. There is also the potential for medication to be prescribed in line with the specific DNA mutation.

Augmented reality for the vision impaired

Developed by an Australian start-up, Aipoly is a brand-new app designed to assist those with vision impairments. The user points the smartphone’s camera towards an area, and a special algorithm is able to identify any objects displayed on the screen in real time. This specialised form of artificial intelligence is being further developed to recognise more complex environments and describe objects in relation to one another, such as “this is a monkey holding a banana”.

Self-correcting spoon

For those with conditions like Cerebral Palsy and Parkinson’s, simple tasks like lifting a spoon can be highly difficult. To aid these individuals, Verily has developed a motorised spoon that automatically counterbalances unintentional movements and allows those with limited arm or hand mobility to keep their cutlery level. A strap attaches to the hand of the user, and the battery is rechargeable for future use.

Lighting up tumours

Tumour removal can be a tricky process, as it can difficult to distinguish cancerous tissue from the healthy tissue around it. This is especially dangerous when operating on the brain. University of Pennsylvania medical researchers have come up with a solution to this issue by using fluorescent contrast agents to identify cancerous tissues during surgery, causing tumours to glow so that surgeons can easily spot them.

Smartphone cancer detection

The L Card is almost too astonishing to believe in, so it’s no wonder the students who created it have won $100k in an entrepreneurial competition. The group of individuals from MIT and Harvard designed the postage stamp-sized device to detect lung cancer from a single breath. Lung cancer can be indicated by certain gases in the breath, which the L card can identify and communicate to an accompanying smartphone app.