From the health-tracking features of the Apple Watch to iPhone cases capable of predicting strokes, there are more and more medical devices involving Apple products.
Perhaps the most amazing so far, however, involves a newly-launched medical technology which allows chronic pain patients to use their iPod Touch to interrupt the pain signals travelling up their spinal cord on their way to the brain.
Called the Invisible Trial System because it can be worn under clothing, the technology uses Bluetooth to control a device which delivers low levels of electrical energy to nerve fibres, thereby masking or interrupting pain signals.
While the iPod touch is the primary device used by the patient to control the therapy, an iPad mini is also used by the patents’ physician to set the programming parameters. This is the medical industry’s first neuromodulation trial system to use both Apple and Bluetooth technology.
“The Invisible Trial System was designed to improve the comfort and usability for patients evaluating spinal cord stimulation therapy to alleviate their chronic pain, without focusing on potential barriers such as programming trial cables and systems with complex trial controls,” says Eric Fain, group president of creator company St Jude Medical.
Given that chronic pain affects more than 1.5 billion people worldwide (approximately 1 in 5 adults), a technology like this — operable with a familiar Apple interface — could turn out to be a very significant advance indeed.
Next iteration as an Apple Watch app, perhaps?