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Emerging Technologies 2018 Session Listing

The program is subject to change in the weeks leading up to the conference. Check back here for the latest schedule, or follow us on Twitter External link symbol for real-time notice of updates to the program.

Session D3: Medical Technologies

Start Time: 13:30, Thursday, May 10
Room: Diamond Head
Chaired by William Barber, Rapiscan Technologies (

  • 13:30 Fabio Di Francesco, Università di Pisa ( with D. Biagini, S. Ghimenti, T. Lomonaco, F. Bellagambi, A. Bonini, P. Salvo, F. Vivaldi and R. Fuoco

    Minimally invasive health monitoring

    Blood analysis is a pillar in modern medicine, but sample collection has drawbacks such as the reluctance of patients to undergo invasive procedures involving needles, the need of certified health professionals operating in a controlled clinical environment, the creation of potentially infectious wastes and the increased risk of infection. In the last few decades, an increasing effort has been spent for the development of analytical methods able to detect and quantify chemicals of clinical interest in easily accessible body fluids such as breath, saliva and sweat, but these procedures have failed so far to bridge the gap existing between research and application in the clinical practice.


    There are multiple reasons to explain such flop, but the lack of standardized sampling procedures and the effects of sampling on sample composition have certainly made it difficult to compare results obtained from different groups and slowed research. However, in the last few years the development of sensor and telecommunication technologies has brought new enthusiasm in the field. A major advantage of breath, saliva and sweat analysis is that the composition of these fluids mirrors almost in real time processes happening inside the body, so that portable devices might be used for the remote monitoring of patients, athletes or people in a working environment.


    We report here results obtained from our research group in analysing the effect of sampling procedures on the composition of breath and saliva samples, illustrative applications of breath and saliva analysis to non-invasive diagnostics and patients monitoring as well as the perspectives of sensing technologies in this field.

  • 13:50 Syed Anas Imitiaz, Imperial College London (

    An ultra-low power system for wearable sleep monitoring and diagnosis

    It is estimated that more than 3.5 million people in the United Kingdom and more than 70 million people in United States suffer from some form of sleep disorder. These may manifest in the form of sleep deprivation, disruptive sleep, excessive sleepiness and other sleeprelated abnormalities and can be fatal if left untreated. Diagnosis of sleep disorders is an expensive and time-consuming procedure that requires performing a sleep study to monitor multiple parameters including neural activity (EEG), eye movements (EOG), and muscle activity (EMG), amongst others. Due to increasing healthcare costs and limited resources, access to PSG is severely limited and often requires long waiting periods.


    Intelligent wearable devices can be used for monitoring and diagnosis of sleep disorders if they can automatically detect sleep abnormalities. This requires designing low-complexity algorithms and low-power systems capable of operating for extended periods of time. This work explores the development of a low-complexity algorithm, for automatic sleep staging, and its subsequent implementation as an ultra-low power system-on-chip. The system integrates an analog front end for EEG data acquisition and a digital processor to extract spectral features from these data and classify them into one of the sleep stages. The digital processor consists of multiple blocks implementing an automatic sleep staging algorithm that uses a set of contextual decision trees controlled by a state machine. The SoC is implemented in an AMS 0.18-μm CMOS technology and is powered using a single 1.25-V supply. Its power consumption is measured to be 575 μW, while its classification accuracy using real EEG data is 98.7%.

  • 14:10 Bonnie Gray, Simon Fraser University (

    Flexible and reconfigurable microfluidic platforms for applications in biology and medicine

    The field of microfluidics continues to show promise for applications in medical screening and diagnostics, and the study of human health and disease. Microfluidics has the potential to miniaturize instrumentation usually limited to the laboratory table top, offering the possibility of highly portable and wearable instruments for medical screening and diagnostics including the monitoring of biomarkers in real time. Microfluidics also offers unique devices and methods that enable scientists to study health and disease in new ways, from studying individual and monolayers of biological cells to mimicking organs on a chip. In order to fully develop these applications, new microfluidic platforms are required that incorporate the results of ongoing research in fields such as materials, biology, microfabrication, electronics, and computer engineering. This presentation discusses several platforms for the development of microfluidic systems for applications in biomedicine and biology. These platforms employ multiple recent advances in conductive and magnetic nanocomposite polymers, polymer microfabrication, printed circuit board technology, reconfigurable systems, and flexible electronics. These platforms are employed toward the development of new microfluidic instruments, including a reconfigurable microfluidic diagnostic unit; inexpensive, flexible, and wearable biomedical screening devices; and biological cell research platforms.

  • 14:30 Francois Rivet, Université de Bordeaux (

    Intra-body communications - why not use ultrasounds instead of radio frequency

    Intra-body area network will enable healthcare applications. Sensors and actuators are supposed to be interconnected thanks to wireless communications. But radio frequency (RF) are limited when intra body communications are concerned. This presentation investigates ultrasonic waves as an alternative wireless carrier of information. Indeed, many studies have shown that water and biological environments are most suited to propagating ultrasonic waves. Our goal is to characterize how ultrasonic waves propagate in the human body for intra-body communications. We present trade off in terms of frequency and dimensions of the transmitter based on theory, simulations and experimental setup demonstration.

  • 14:50 Soojin Lee, University of British Columbia (

    Engineering approaches to non-invasive electrical stimulation of the brain: application to Parkinson’s disease

    Parkinson’s disease (PD) affects up to 1-2% of the population over 65 years. Treatments include medication and deep brain stimulation (DBS). The latter, by modulating ongoing brain oscillations, is highly effective, but is necessarily invasive and expensive.


    More recently, non-invasive electrical neuromodulatory methods such as galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) and transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) are under active investigation for PD treatment as safe, potentially portable therapies. We (and others) have previously demonstrated that stochastic GVS improves motor symptoms in PD, motivating us to investigate the effects of different stimuli on brain activity and motor function. We examined the GVS effects on EEG recordings and reaction time in PD and age-matched healthy control groups. We demonstrate that GVS had a significant non-linear effect on EEG rhythms, increasing abnormally-suppressed beta and gamma activities seen in PD regardless of the stimulus type, and suppressing excessive theta and alpha activity depending upon on the frequency of stimulation. Furthermore, reaction time was reduced by high-frequency GVS, suggesting a causal relationship between the changes in neural activity and task performance. We suggest that GVS may provide a new way to ameliorate some of the motor symptoms of PD.

  • 15:10 COFFEE BREAK (Mt. Curie Foyer)


  • 15:30 Ross Walker, University of Utah (

    Direct neural interfaces for medical and non-medical applications

    Implantable devices that interface with the nervous system are used to treat disease and disorders including Parkinson’s, essential tremor, deafness, and blindness. Neural interfaces are also critical tools for neuroscience, allowing high resolution sensing of brain activity as well as actuation of neural circuits. Core technologies for interfacing with the brain and peripheral nervous system are receiving an unprecedented amount of attention both in the academic research community as well as in the entrepreneurial space. This talk will discuss the future of fully implantable neural interfaces and the fundamental technologies they are based on. State of the art devices and systems will be discussed and key technical challenges will be highlighted in the context of enabling advanced human applications of neural interfaces including prosthetic devices and brain computer interfaces.

  • 15:50 Yang Sheng, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (

    Improving count rate and sensitivity in cross-strip cadmium zinc telluride detectors

    The detector readout bandwidth is of paramount importance to achieve a high-count rate and thus a high sensitivity. For detectors with the number of readout channels larger than that of the application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), multiple ASICs are required. In systems with such a readout scheme, it is important to consider the load balance to achieve the highest count rate. In this work, a Monte Carlo simulation was performed to investigate the bandwidths of different load balancing configurations between two ASICs in a cross-strip cadmium zinc telluride detector. It is found that for anode strips, allocating each ASIC to half of the detector area provides a higher bandwidth when compared to allocating ASIC channels to alternate anode channels. Cathodes that are closer to the field of view will trigger more often and require a more complex load balancing scheme. Charge sharing and scattering play a role in the different bandwidths, and the bandwidth of the half-half configuration is 2.82% higher than that of the alternate configuration.

  • 16:10 Ferruccio Pisanello, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (

    Micro and nanotechnologies for multipoint control of neural activity in deep brain regions

    The possibility to optically interface with the mammalian brain is allowing for unprecedented investigations of functional connectivity of neural circuitry. A new generation of optical neural interfaces is being developed, mainly thanks to the exploitation of micro and nanotechnologies. After reviewing recent advances in this framework, the presentation will focus on a new technology to obtain multisite optical control of neural activity in deep brain regions. It is based on modal demultiplexing properties of tapered optical fibers to adapt light delivery depth to the size of functional structures and to obtain spatial-resolved optogenetic control of neural activity in sub- cortical regions such as the striatum or the thalamus. Depending on the geometry of the volume of interest, the light-confinement properties of the tapered optical fiber can be engineered to obtain both site-selective or wide-volume light delivery, allowing for unprecedented flexibility in in vivo experiments on rodents. The simplicity of this technique, together with its versatility, reduced invasiveness and compatibility with both laser and LED sources, indicate this approach can greatly complement the set of existing tools for light delivery in optogenetic experiments.

  • 16:30 Thomas Webster, Northeastern University (

    Design, fabricating, and commercializing in-the-body nano sensors: the future of health

    Synthetic materials used in medical devices today are typically composed of micron sized particles, grains, and/or fiber dimensions. Although human cells are on the micron scale, their individual components, e.g. proteins, are composed of nanometer features. By modifying only the nanofeatures on material surfaces without changing surface chemistry, it is possible to increase tissue growth of any human tissue by controlling the endogenous adsorption of adhesive proteins onto the material surface. In addition, our group has shown that these same nanofeatures and nano-modifications can reduce bacterial growth without using antibiotics, which may further accelerate the growth of antibiotic resistant microbes. Inflammation can also be decreased through the use of nanomaterials. Nanomedicine has been shown to stimulate the growth and differentiation of stem cells, which may someday be used to treat incurable disorders, such as neural damage. However, in moving beyond tissue engineering and medical devices, it is clear that for many diseases, we need real time monitoring of body health. In this manner, some of the same materials utilized above are being used to develop implantable sensors that can both monitor and heal diseased cells. This invited talk will highlight some of these advancements, particularly those approved by the FDA.

  • 16:50 Peyman Servati, University of British Columbia (

    Smart textile innovations for technology connected health (STITCH)

  • 17:10 Mirza Faisal Beg, Simon Fraser University (

    Measuring structure and function from medical images

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