Saturday October 19, 2019

A New Tool May Aid Patients To Detect Urine Blockage

Surgeons are developing a new smartphone-based tool that can detect urethral or urine blockage, potentially making it easier for patients to test themselves for the condition from the comfort of their own homes.

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Surgeons are developing a new smartphone-based tool that can detect urethral or urine blockage, potentially making it easier for patients to test themselves for the condition from the comfort of their own homes.

The novel technique could take high-speed photography which could capture subtle differences between a normal steady stream of liquid and a stream of liquid with an obstruction.

Urethral strictures are a slowing or blocking of the natural flow of urine due to an injury or infection. It is normally diagnosed by uroflowmetry, a test administered at a physician’s office.

“The problem is that patient follow-up after we treat this condition is very poor,” said Matthew Gretzer, Associate Professor at the University of Arizona in the US.

“But we need patients to come back to our clinic for a uroflow test to determine if the obstruction is still present,” he added.

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In order to test Gretzer’s hypothesis on high-speed photography, the team created a model of a urethral structure using tubing hooked to a saline bag that could drain through.

Saline fluid was passed through the tubing with and without blockages, created using 3D printed strictures, placed within the tubing. High-speed photography captured both the regular and blocked stream of liquid exiting the tube.

Gretzer contended that photos can be a medium to diagnose blockages and he hopes that patients could send him these images to analyse and make the diagnosis. He plans to create a mobile app which can be downloaded by the patients.

“All patients would need to do is take high-speed images of their urine flow using a strobe light,” Gretzer said.

“Strobe light apps are readily available right now for people to use on their phones”.

Also Read: Astronauts from Clemson University in US Believe Human Urine Can Help Safer Space Travel

According to the researchers, as fluid exits an opening, a natural breakpoint occurs where the liquid stream forms droplets, but with obstructions in place, it changes.

The results showed that by analysing photos, they could measure the length to this point of droplet formation. This length then directly related to the presence of an obstruction in the tube. (IANS)

Next Story

Researchers Develop a Software that Turns Smartphone into Portable AR Device

The new system, called Portal-ble, could be a tool for artists, designers, game developers and others to experiment with AR

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The new system, called Portal-ble, could be a tool for artists, designers, game developers and others to experiment with AR. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a new software system that turns smartphones into Augmented Reality (AR) portals, enabling users to place virtual building blocks, furniture and other objects into real-world backdrops, and use their hands to manipulate those objects as if they were really there.

The new system, called Portal-ble, could be a tool for artists, designers, game developers and others to experiment with AR, said researchers from Brown University.

“We wanted to make something that made AR portable so that people could use anywhere without any bulky headsets. We also wanted people to be able to interact with the virtual world in a natural way using their hands,” said Jeff Huang, assistant professor of computer science at Brown.

The idea for Portal-ble’s “hands-on” interaction grew out of some frustration with AR apps like Pokemon Go.

AR apps use smartphones to place virtual objects (like Pokemon characters) into real-world scenes, but interacting with those objects requires users to swipe on the screen.

The software makes use of a small infrared sensor mounted on the back of a phone.

The sensor tracks the position of people’s hands in relation to virtual objects, enabling users to pick objects up, turn them, stack them or drop them.

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AR apps use smartphones to place virtual objects (like Pokemon characters) into real-world scenes, but interacting with those objects requires users to swipe on the screen. Pixabay

It also lets people use their hands to virtually “paint” onto real-world backdrops.

Huang and his students plan to continue working with Portal-ble — expanding its object library, refining interactions and developing new activities.

ALSO READ: Truecaller Launches Group Chat Feature for Android, iOS

The team is set to present the work later this month at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST 2019) in New Orleans. (IANS)