Technology has been a vastly positive thing for the human race. The major leaps right from the discovery of fire, the invention of the wheel, the computer and so on have helped us become the tech hungry race we are now. It has shaped our history as well, and enabled us to live the global lifestyle that we do today.
But now technology is changing the demographics of the whole world. In 1900 in the United States, only 4% of the population were aged over 65. By the time we reached the year 2000 this had increased to 12%, and this is predicted to continue to rise to 17% by 2020. This is due to a combination of factors including a much greater knowledge of what it is that keeps us alive, vastly better technology for doing so, and generally better lifestyles (although the last one is debatable).
The percentage of poor and malnourished people in developed countries has reduced to almost nothing, which is a significant reduction on the numbers around 1900.
With more people living to greater ages, technology has come to help with the problem it created, enabling the design and manufacture of better medical care technology. Today, the range of care aids and accessories you can get is vast, from cranes and lifting aids to mobility and beds, as well as customised versions of nearly every object in the home. Here are some of the more inventive bits of modern care technology both available and yet to make it to market:
Open MRI Scanners
The magnetic resonance imaging scanner itself has been around since the early 1970s, and has helped to vastly increase our understanding of the way the brain functions. It has to the power to look through the body without causing harm, but until now has always been housed in a tube. Hitachi have now developed an open scanner that is much more suitable for claustrophobic or obese patients, and will also allow parents to be with children or other support staff present. The technology itself has now been improved also, meaning the diagnosis can be even more accurate.
Leicester University Disease Detection Unit
Leicester University, in association with the Royal Infirmary, have developed and are in the process of installing a futuristic disease detection unit that makes use of some odd technology. The combination of the items and processes used here has never been seen before in a medical setting. It is designed to detect diseases without the use of invasive procedures, and employs the following technology. A set of sensors analyse the breath of the patient and can detect a range of diseases from that, further systems make use of imaging technology more often used for space exploration to closely look at the skin, and this can reveal signs of disease as well. Finally, an array of oxygen monitors look at the flow of air and oxygenation around the body, giving other signs of problems.