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LIFESTYLE GADGETS


Proteus Biomedical has created a ‘smart pill’ embedded with ingestible chips to ensure that patients take their medication regularly as well as tracking the body’s response. When ingested, the chip communicates to a mobile device that tracks the data and can inform physicians of the efficacy of treatment. Finally, GlySens has developed internal


wireless telemetry systems to monitor glucose levels inside tissue and then communicate the data to an external receiver. This could present an alternative for diabetics instead of pricking their fingers to test blood glucose levels.


3D printing


Rapid prototyping technology has been around for years, but the cost of 3D printing technology has recently fallen significantly and the printable materials have improved in quality and reliability. 3D printers quite literally print objects from the ground up using successive layers of material, such as molten plastic, as opposed to the ink of 2D printers. The technology allows you to


upload a 3D design and watch it being manufactured within minutes before your eyes. It can also create ‘impossible objects’, such as interlinked chains, which can be made in a single process, rather than making separate links and joining them together. Companies such as Shapeways allow


anyone with very basic design skills to build a product and sell it through an e-commerce platform with no upfront costs. Whenever someone buys a product, a single unit is printed. This means designers can make money off single item sales as opposed to mass manufacturing and waiting to break even. If you don’t know how to use CAD software, there are tools that will even convert a 2D hand- sketched image into a 3D printed item. So, for example, you can draw a swirly pattern on a piece of paper, scan it, and have it converted into a pair of earrings. One personal 3D printer that is


currently on the market is the RepRap, which can print all of its own parts – essentially building a clone of itself. n


OLIVIA SOLON is Associate Editor at Wired.co.uk


62 businesslife.co August/September 2011


‘Medical mirrors’ can use your bio-data to diagnose and track illness


A 3D printer scans objects and ‘prints’ them in layers


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