Wednesday, January 29, 2014

'Smart' Holograms Are the Cheap Health Monitors of the Future


Basically anytime someone does something new with a hologram it grabs headlines, especially straight-out-of-sci-fi stuff like this new Star Wars-inspired phone that shows a holographic image of the person at the other end, or the prime minister of Turkey delivering a political speech as a hologram yesterday. That's a lot of fun and all, but one place where holographic research is making a practical impact, life-saving even, is the health care industry.

Scientists keep discovering new medical uses for the fantastical phenomenon. The latest comes from the University of Cambridge where researchers created a "smart" hologram that can help you monitor your health.

The portable holographic sensors can detect disease, drugs, hormones, etc. in your blood, breath, saliva, or tears, and change color when they sense something. Then you snap a picture of the colorful hologram with your smartphone to reference it against a color chart for the results. 

At this point, only certain medical professionals are using the smart holograms, but eventually researchers expect it could be mass marketed—the app will surely follow.

The holographic biosensors are made with hydrogel, a material similar to what contact lenses are made out of, infused with silver nanoparticles that with a laser pulse form a 3D holographic shape. When the sensor comes across an "indicator"—say, fluctuation of glucose level or hormone imbalance—the hyrdrogel grows or shrinks, which moves the layers of nanoparticles, which changes the color of the hologram. Boom.

 

Making holographic biosensors with nanoparticles and lasers, via Advanced Optical Materials


For the rest of the story: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/smart-holograms-are-the-cheap-health-monitors-of-the-future

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