Technology is advancing exponentially, and believe it or not, itâ€™s being applied to more areas than finding ways to make your phone smaller and your TV screen bigger.Â The medical field is enjoying a litany of new inventions making their way through the gauntlet of FDA approval, from artificial lymph nodes that may be the cure to cancer to contacts that release glaucoma-fighting medicine.Â However, the medical and fitness industries frequently overlap, and this new generation of inventions is no exception.Â Here are 5 new inventions that are just as likely to get you in shape as they are to save your life.
GI Dynamics, a Massachusetts based company that focuses on non-surgical therapeutics, has come out with the Endo-Barrier, a gastro-intestinal liner that helps to curb obesity associated with type II diabetes.Â The liner, inserted through the mouth, promises to be a less invasive alternative to a gastric bypass or lap band, which both require surgery.Â The liner covers the first 2 feet of the small intestine, where the most nutrients are absorbed, reducing your daily caloric intake while leaving feelings of satiety unaffected.Â Since your body feels satiated, your metabolism will maintain a healthy fat burning pace, even though itâ€™s absorbing fewer calories than it thinks it is.Â It may not stop type II diabetes, but itâ€™ll definitely get you a set of abs quicker.
The MyoSpare patch, the brainchild of Israeli company StimuHeal, is a battery operated patch that is worn underneath casts to stimulate muscles while they would otherwise be atrophying inactively on top of the broken bone.Â Not only is it an effective way to prevent your muscles from atrophying, but it functions as a de facto abdominal belt, giving you free ab workouts whenever you crack your ribs.
No, itâ€™s not a simulator that walks like a giant robot.Â The walking simulator is part of a new rehabilitation program for stroke victims developed at the University of Portsmouth.Â The simulator is essentially a treadmill with a virtual reality screen, which apparently tricks their brains into thinking that they are walking slower than they actually are.Â The end result is that they donâ€™t only walk farther, but remarkably report feeling less pain since their mind believes they are walking a shorter, less painful distance.Â Now if only they could develop a virtual reality weight training simulatorâ€¦
Well, it’s not psychic at all, but it can tell you when you’re about to have an asthma attack.Â A device developed at the University of Pittsburgh allows people to now know if theyâ€™re having an asthma attack before it even happens.Â The device uses an extremely thin nanotube coated with polymers that can detect minute traces of nitric oxide, which the lungs apparently emit before you have an asthma attack. Â It also makes a great companion with the virtual reality walking simulator.
If youâ€™ve ever been unfortunate enough to need a pacemaker, or know someone that has, then you know that it will allow you to resume your daily activities, and thatâ€™s about it.Â Any physical exertion more demanding than walking to your car every day is considered a liability, leaving running or all sports besides golf out of the question.Â That may all be about to change, since researchers at several universities have developed an injection that reprograms stem cells to express themselves as pacemaker genes.Â Injected into damaged areas of the heart that are causing an arrhythmic heart beat, the â€œbatteryless pacemakerâ€ has already proved to bring hearts in canine trials back up to speed.
Eric Hirota is a personal trainer at LAVA Sport & Fitness in San Diego, CA.Â He specializes in plyometrics and body fat reduction.