Pat Lynch’s Calendar

January 20, 2013 by Pat Lynch

Ask me anything at  plynch@gmi3.com

2011-09-01 08.22.35

2015 Calendar

June 5 – Manny’s Meeting, Denver, CO

June 6-8 – AAMI Denver, CO

July 22-24 – MD Imaging Expo, Indianapolis, IN

August 11 – KAMI, Lexington, KY

August 19-21 – CEAI, Chicago,IL

Sept 9-11 – NCBA, Charlotte, NC

Sept 23-25 – VBA, Newport News, VA

October 1-3 – FBS, Orlando, FL

October 21-23 – MD Expo – Las Vegas

 

 

 

Navigating FDA regulations of medical software

July 30, 2015 by Pat Lynch
Beth Walsh
Jul 26, 2015
 BOSTON—People think it can’t be true, but software has been regulated for decades, said Bradley Merrill Thompson, JD, attorney with Epstein, Becker & Green, during a session on regulatory decisions at mHealth + Telehealth 2015.

The key word in the FDA’s definition of devices is intent, he explained. A company’s intention in selling a given product and what customers are supposed to use it for are important. “Within the FDA space, what you say impacts how it’s treated,” said Thompson.

The FDA published a final draft of its guidance on medical apps in February, but Thompson said a lot of people are still using the 2013 version. There are very significant differences between the two.

The FDA uses a pyramid divided into three categories: regulated, unregulated and a middle tier with enforcement discretion.

Thompson cited the case of Biosense, which in 2013 came out with an app for urinalysis. The app got a lot of media attention and Biosense posted a disclaimer on its website saying that it is not a medical device. They got an enforcement letter from the FDA because the app did the same thing as a medical device. “A lot can be based on what FDA has regulated before,” he said.

A lot of apps are viewed as an extension of some other type of device by connecting to it to gain control, use in active patient monitoring or analyze medical device data. This last scenario “is the one that gets a lot of folks,” says Thompson. “The FDA says if that functionality were on the device itself it would be regulated. Moving to the phone doesn’t change the risk proposition. If the analysis is wrong, then what good is it that the original device worked correctly?”

Clinical decision software falls under the category of software analytics. The FDA has promised special guidance dedicated to this topic which is due by Sept. 30. Guidance trying to divide the line between analytics that deserve regulation and those that don’t is going to be pretty important, Thompson said.

The FDA’s draft guidance on mobile apps is “extremely important,” he said. “It is really a huge step in a positive direction of saying ‘we at the FDA want to encourage Americans to live healthier lifestyles and want tools to empower them to do so.’ They are pulling back the reins.”

The goal is tools that help people reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases or conditions, or help them live well with them. One important driver is that the scientific community is firmly committed to the association of diet and diabetes, for example, Thompson said. “If the scientific community hasn’t bought into a newer concept, you can’t do it.”

Permitted functionalities include promoting, tracking, and/or encouraging healthy choices. The functions have to be low risk, however. An app to help people with diabetes, for example, doesn’t treat the disease. “There’s a gentle, subtle line here,” Thompson said. “It has to be good for general health and not crossing the line and saying in the app or promotion of the app that it’s good for managing diabetes.” The seriousness of disease has a major impact on how the FDA will treat the products, he noted.

The law is not always clear when it comes to enforcement discretion. The FDA decided to exempt low-risk devices, however, they may or may not meet the definition of medical device. The agency also can change its exemption but will only change it prospectively.

“The FDA is taking a shortcut” with enforcement regulation, Thompson said. It takes a lot of time and money to change the regulations through rulemaking so they use guidance instead.

NIST releases first-ever mobile device security guidelines

July 29, 2015 by Pat Lynch

82-page how-to guide offers best practices for healthcare groups

July 28, 2015

If you’ve been looking for any set of official guidelines for mobile device security or best practices on keeping medical data safe, there’s finally some serious movement on that front – a standards handbook with reams of valuable insight on the topic.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the federal agency charged with developing tech standards, has unveiled its long-awaited mobile security guide, specifically written for safeguarding medical data.

The handbook – see below – currently in draft form is awaiting public comment. It offers healthcare organizations insight on how to bolster mHealth cybersecurity via open-source or commercial tools.

Securing Electronic Records on Mobile Devices, NIST officials point out, provides health IT professionals with “detailed architecture so that they can copy or recreate with different but similar technologies, the security characteristics of the guide.” The guide also outlines NIST standards, best practices and other regulations to adhere to, such as HIPAA.

Among the myriad reasons for compiling such a guide, NIST officials point to a 2012 HHS roundtable on mobile devices, where participants underscored that “many healthcare providers are using mobile devices in healthcare delivery before they have appropriate privacy and security protections in place.”

In fact, 90 percent of healthcare providers are currently utilizing mobile devices within their organizations.

“We know from working with them that healthcare organizations want to protect their clients’ personal information and themselves from the high costs associated with breaches,” said Donna Dodson, director of NIST’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, in a statement. “This guide can be an important tool among the many they use to reduce risk.”

Included in the 82-page how-to guide, there’s Bind DNS and DNSE installation and hardening tips step-by-step instructions and requirements, etc. There’s Access Point advice, IPTables firewall how-tos. The guide also details back system best practices, configuration management specifications – including Puppet, production Web server, etc. It underlines intrusion detection systems, certification authority, host and mobile devices security, MDM enrollment and has an entire section on governance, risk and compliance.

NIST officials describe the new guidelines as including a “virtual environment that simulates interaction among mobile devices and an electronic health record system supported by the IT infrastructure of a medical organization.”

In addition to the how-to handbook, the new NIST guidelines include a 16-page manual on relevant mobile device standards and controls mapping, specifically written for the healthcare industry. For each related technology, for instance, say key management, there’s a corresponding table of applicable standards and links to the standards.

The final piece of the guidelines delineates risk assessment and outcomes, based on the business workflow of a typical EHR user.

US News names Best Hospitals: 6 things to know

July 28, 2015 by Pat Lynch
Written by Heather Punke (Twitter | Google+)  | July 21, 2015

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston reclaimed the top spot on the Honor Roll for 2015-16, and there is a tie for No. 3.

U.S. News & World Report has released its 2015-16 Best Hospital rankings, the 26th edition of its annual rankings. The following are six things to know about this year’s rankings, including which organizations made the Honor Roll and landed in top spots for three major specialties.

1. Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston reclaimed the top spot on the Honor Roll this year, which is comprised of hospitals raking at or near the top in six or more specialties. Mass General was No. 2 on last year’s Honor Roll.

2. Just 15 hospitals qualified for the Honor Roll this year by ranking at or near the top in six or more specialties. That’s down from 17 in 2014-15′s rankings. They are as follows, in rank order:

1.   Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston)
2.   Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.)
3.   Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore) tie
3.   UCLA Medical Center (Los Angeles) tie
5.   Cleveland Clinic
6.   Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston)
7.   NewYork-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell (New York City)
8.   UCSF Medical Center (San Francisco)
9.   Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian (Philadelphia)
10. Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University (St. Louis)
11. Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Chicago)
12. NYU Langone Medical Center (New York City)
13. UPMC (Pittsburgh)
14. Duke University Hospital (Durham, N.C.)
15. Stanford (Calif.) Hospital

3. U.S. News also ranks hospitals nationally in individual specialties. The following are the top three hospitals in three high-profile specialties.

Cancer care
1. University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston)
2. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York City)
3. Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.)

Cardiology & heart surgery
1. Cleveland Clinic
2. Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.)
3. NewYork-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell (New York City)

Orthopedics
1. Hospital for Special Surgery (New York City)
2. Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.)
3. Cleveland Clinic

4. This year, 137 hospitals performed well enough in complex care to be nationally ranked in one of 16 specialties. Rankings for 12 of the specialties (cancer; cardiology & heart surgery; diabetes & endocrinology; ear, nose & throat; gastroenterology & GI surgery; geriatrics; gynecology; nephrology; neurology & neurology; orthopedics; pulmonology; and urology) are based on reputation, patient survival, patient safety and care-related factors. The remaining four specialties (ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation and rheumatology) are based on reputation alone, pulled from the three latest annual physician surveys.

5. U.S. News also selected 520 Best Regional Hospitals, based on their prowess in either their state or metro area. This year, Best Regional Hospitals were identified based on performance in both complex care and common care, like hip and knee replace surgeries, heart bypass surgeries, heart failure and COPD.

6. U.S. News made two changes to its methodology this year. One was to drop one of the eight elements that had made up the patient safety component of a hospital’s score in 2014-15. RTI International, U.S. News’s longstanding Best Hospitals contractor, found that the incidence of postoperative hip fractures was too low to yield reliable data.

The other significant change was to further expand the physician survey. Prior to 2014, a total of 3,200 specialists (200 in each of the 16 Best Hospitals specialties) were randomly sampled each year, representing a total three-year sample of 9,600. For 2014, the random sample was supplemented by a survey of nearly 50,000 members of Doximity, the largest online professional network of U.S. physicians, yielding a three-year total of about 60,000 physicians.

Access the full rankings and methodology here.

HTM Dirt – Exposing the Dirt in the HTM Profession

July 27, 2015 by Pat Lynch

I have a web site. It is called HTM Dirt.  The url is www.HTMDirt.com .   It is a successor to the Wall of Shame, which specialized in posting accounts of companies who screwed their customers by overcharging for medical device repair parts.  I have taken the concept and expanded it to include companies who not only abuse the parts pricong, but who also withhold service manuals, technical training, and any other resource that Biomeds need to do our jobs.   Please visit it and check out some of the posts there.   And send me your accopunts of bad companies so that I canget the word out to the world.  Maybe some of the companies will be embarrassed and change their ways.

Thanks,

Patrick Lynch

704-941-0116

plynch@gmi3.com

65 things to know about US hospitals and health systems

July 24, 2015 by Pat Lynch
Written by Tamara Rosin and Akanksha Jayanthi | July 09, 2015

 

Here are 65 statistics, benchmarks and facts about America’s hospitals and health systems.

1. According to the American Hospital Association’s Hospital Statistics 2015 edition, which uses data collected in 2013, there are 5,686 registered hospitals in the U.S., including nonprofit, for-profit, federal government, state and local government, psychiatric, and long-term hospitals as well as hospital units in institutions (i.e. prison hospitals, college infirmaries, etc.). Registered hospitals include those that meet the AHA’s criteria for registration as a hospital facility.

2. The AHA Hospital Statistics 2015 edition also reports there are 914,153 total staffed beds, 35,416,020 admissions and $859 billion in total expenses in all U.S. registered hospitals.

3. Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia is the country’s oldest hospital, founded in 1751, even before the United States won its independence from England. The hospital was founded by Benjamin Franklin and a physician named Thomas Bond. During the Revolution, both Continental and British soldiers received treatment from Pennsylvania Hospital. The hospital is now part of Penn Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania health system.

4. The following nonprofit hospital systems are the largest in the U.S., based on number of short-term, acute-care hospitals:

Note: The following two lists are based on data from the American Hospital Directory, which contains information from hospital cost reports submitted to CMS. Hospital cost reports are submitted to fiscal intermediaries approximately three months after the end of a hospital’s fiscal year, and the most common fiscal year ending dates are Dec. 31, June 30 and Sept. 30.  

Systems are listed in descending order based on the number of acute-care hospitals. The company rankings total 10, although the list includes ties, which means there are more than 10 individual systems listed.

  • Ascension Health (St. Louis) — 75
  • Trinity Health (Livonia, Mich.) — 44
  • Catholic Health Initiatives (Denver) — 39
  • Kaiser Permanente (Oakland, Calif.) — 37
  • Adventist Health System (Winter Park, Fla.) — 35
  • Dignity Health (San Francisco) — 39 [Dignity Health's latest reported number for acute care hospitals, as of 7/14/15]
  • Sutter Health (Sacramento, Calif.) — 26
  • Providence Health and Services (Seattle) — 26
  • CHRISTUS Health (Irving, Texas) — 20
  • Banner Health (Phoenix) — 19
  • Baylor Scott & White Health (Dallas) — 19
  • Mercy Health (Cincinnati)* — 17
  • UPMC (Pittsburgh) — 17
  • SSM Health Care (St. Louis) — 17
  • ntermountain Health Care (Salt Lake City) — 17
  • New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System (New York City) — 16
  • Adventist Health (Roseville, Calif.) — 16

*Formerly Catholic Healthcare Partners

5. The following for-profit hospital systems are the largest in the U.S., based on number of acute-care hospitals.

  • Community Health Systems (Brentwood, Tenn.) — 188
  • Hospital Corporation of America (Nashville, Tenn.) — 166
  • Tenet Healthcare (Dallas) — 74
  • LifePoint Health (Brentwood, Tenn.)* — 56

CLICK HERE to see the rest of the 65 Things to Know about Hospitals

9 Useful Shortcut Cheat Sheets

July 23, 2015 by Pat Lynch
Posted: 15 Jul 2015 08:00 AM PDT

1. Adobe Shortcuts for Designers

2. Windows 7 Shortcuts

3. Mac OS X Shortcuts

4. Android Secret Codes

5. Google Chrome Shortcuts

6. Gmail Shortcuts

7. Imgur Shortcuts

8. SimCity Shortcuts and Hotkeys

9. 40 More Incredibly Useful Shortcuts

Johnny Lists – 9 Useful Shortcut Cheat Sheets

7 Bizarre Medical Treatments Back in Use

July 22, 2015 by Pat Lynch

 

7 Bizarre Medical Treatments Back in Use

“First, do no harm,” is one of the main principles guiding health care professionals. While these words are not part of the Hippocratic Oath, they form the basis of what physicians are generally taught. While treating a disease is important, the consequences of those treatments should be carefully weighed against their benefits.

 Over the course of history, many medical practices have come and gone for various reasons, including changes in medical theory, evidence that the risks of a treatment outweigh the potential benefits, or simply the discovery of new or better techniques.

In general, the practices that go out of favor, stay out of favor. But occasionally, something old that has been debunked is found to have significant use in another application. Lobotomies, once thought to be a cure for schizophrenia, have been repurposed to treat seizures; arsenic, used in tonics and in largely unsubstantiated herbal remedies, is now a life-saving treatment for blood cancer.

Practices such as these were stopped because they were not sufficiently studied before they were implemented, and with use were found to do more harm than good. Yet, once adequate research into these techniques was conducted, some of these older practices were found to have value in another application.

Below is a list of seven medical treatments or practices common in the past that, after years of no longer being practiced, have become important in modern medical care.

 1. Lobotomy
 The lobotomy, also known as leucotomy, was a procedure developed in the 1930s in an attempt to treat severe psychiatric illness. In the first procedures, small holes were drilled into the skull and ethanol was injected into part of the brain to functionally sever the frontal lobes (which generally control more executive functions, such as personality, motivation, and attention) from the rest of the brain

Even without sufficient medical trials, the mechanics of the procedure continued to evolve, and in the mid-1940s, lobotomies became routine office procedures. Doctors would stick an icepick into the brain through the top of the eye socket. Roughly 40,000 Americans were “treated” with this procedure, with a significant amount of associated death and morbidity.

Given the rather gruesome nature of the procedure and the clear lack of evidence for its success, many countries eventually banned the practice altogether.

With improvements in localization provided by high-resolution imaging (e.g. MRI scans) and brain wave studies, teams of neurosurgeons and neurologists are now able to target and remove small regions of the brain to significantly improve seizure control while causing minimal secondary damage. Promising results have led to a rise in the lobotomy-like procedure. According to the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, roughly 6,500 lobectomies and partial lobectomies were performed in the United States between 1990 and 2008. In one subset of epilepsy patients, seizure control was achieved in up to 75% of patients treated with surgery and medications compared to 0% in patients treated with only medications.

2. Electroshock Therapy

Now more commonly referred to as electroconvulsive therapy (or ECT), electroshock therapy was developed as a treatment for psychiatric conditions in the 1930s. It was shown to be very effective in improving mental illness, especially severe depression. At its height in the 1940s and 50s, it was estimated that approximately one-third of patients hospitalized with affective disorders (e.g bipolar, depression, anxiety) had undergone the treatment.

Unfortunately, it was also associated with significant memory disturbances and confusion, and prior to the use of anesthetics was known to cause bodily harm, including bone fractures and dislocations. Improvement in techniques and the use of anesthetics to prevent the contorting movements of the seizure helped mitigate these problems.

Despite these improvements, however, public perception of ECT was exceedingly negative. In the popular novel and movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Big Nurse (Nurse Ratched), used it as a tool to terrorize and control the patients in her ward; in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, the protagonist’s first psychiatrist punishes her with ECT, although later she is treated successfully with ECT in a more controlled environment. The negative public perception, combined with the rise of antidepressant use from the 1950s onwards, led to a significant decrease in the use of ECT.

Over the past 20 or so years, however, ECT has had a resurgence due to its effectiveness in patients with severe depression that do not respond to medication alone. It is estimated that roughly 100,000 Americans receive ECT per year in the United States, and it is considered to be the gold standard treatment for severe depression.

3. Leeches and Bloodletting

 For thousands of years, bloodletting was a practice of ancient medicine to balance the humours. It is thought to have been among the most common medical practices from the antiquity period through the late 1800s. The first documented uses were in ancient Egypt around 1000 BCE. In Hippocrates’ Greece, when dietary changes, exercise, sweating, and vomiting proved unhelpful, the body was frequently “re-balanced” through bleeding.

Various methods of bloodletting were used over time, usually involving small knives to score the skin or nick a vein. Leeches were first documented for this use in 800 BCE and were exceedingly popular in the early 1800s. In 1830s France, 35 million leeches were used per year.
Bloodletting was debunked as a cure-all as rigorous study showed that it had little positive impact on most diseases. Today, bloodletting is still in use only in the treatment of diseases where the body produces too many red blood cells (polycythemia vera) or where there is malfunction of iron metabolism (iron being the main ingredient of hemoglobin, which allows red blood cells to transport oxygen).

The use of leeches, too, has increased in the past couple of decades after it was discovered that the leeches’ saliva secretions contain several medicinal enzymes. In microsurgery and tissue reimplantation, leeches can help relieve blood congestion and allow for proper circulation. In addition, the anti-inflammatory and numbing agents are useful in the treatment of arthritis. As early as 1817 and as recently as 2014, numerous attempts have been made to replace leeches with blood-sucking mechanical devices. None appear to be as effective as leeches, however, which continue to be used to this day.

4. Thalidomide

Developed in Germany in the 1950s, thalidomide was considered a cure-all. It was marketed as a treatment for respiratory infections, insomnia, cough, colds, headaches, nausea, and — most significantly — morning sickness. The company that developed the drug tried to get it approved in America, but the application was denied by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In 1957, thalidomide became an over-the-counter medicine in Germany. It was also licensed sold in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. It became one of the most successful prescription drugs in the history of medicine.

Doctors prescribed thalidomide to thousands of pregnant women for morning sickness until they realized children were being born with serious birth defects. It was estimated that between 10,000 and 20,000 children were born with missing and severely malformed limbs, and roughly 50% of them died. The drug was withdrawn from the market in Germany, and eventually pulled from the rest of the countries in which it was licensed.

In 1991, researchers found that the drug had a significant impact on the regulation of the immune system. Seven years later, the FDA approved the drug for the treatment of leprosy, and since that time it and multiple derivatives have been used effectively on blood cancers and other immune system disorders.

5. Maggots

Maggots have been used for thousands of years to treat wounds. Archaeological findings, historical reports, and ancient writings show their use in Mayan culture, among Australian Aboriginal tribes, during the reign of the Roman Empire, and during the Renaissance. Maggots were especially useful during wartime. Military doctors and battlefield medics noticed soldiers whose wounds were colonized by maggots were less likely to die from their injuries. During the Napoleonic Wars, while campaigning through the Middle East, French surgeons observed that the larvae of certain fly species consumed only dead tissue, speeding up the healing process.

In the 1930s, studies found that maggots contain antimicrobial properties. Despite the growing body of evidence, however, the discovery of penicillin and other antibiotics led to far lower maggot usage for infectious wounds.

With widespread antibiotic use, some bacteria have developed into superbugs with resistance to most, if not all, antibiotics. At the same time, the rise in diabetes has led to more wounds with poor blood supply and significantly impaired healing. In a 1989 study, researchers found maggot therapy to be a suitable alternative to other modern wound-control techniques. And in 2004, the FDA approved the prescription of maggots for the treatment of non-healing wounds, including diabetic ulcers, venous stasis ulcers, and other non-healing traumatic or surgical wounds.

ALSO READ: 10 States With the Most Hate Groups

6. Fecal Transplant

Taking stool from one healthy person and implanting it in the digestive system of an unhealthy
person certainly sounds like one of the least pleasant treatments. Despite the “ick” factor, recent studies have shown fecal transplant to be exceedingly successful in controlling some bacterial infections in the gut that do not respond to available antibiotics. Modern delivery techniques have also made it a much less unpleasant experience.

A sample is collected from the donor, who is pre-screened for a wide array of bacterial and parasitic infections. The sample is diluted and then applied to the patient’s digestive tract either through a colonoscopy or a tube placed through the nose into the digestive tract. The treatment has been most successful as a treatment for patients with C. difficile, a common gut infection that usually arises after prolonged use of strong antibiotics. In fact, it has been shown to be even more effective than the current standard therapy, the antibiotic vancomycin.

Fecal transplants have been used to treat other ailments as early as the fourth century. Chinese medical reports from the period discuss its application in the treatment of food poisoning and severe diarrhea. At that time, and for at least the next 1,200 years, a solution of stool and water was simply drunk by the patient.

7. Arsenic

As is the case with many modern chemotherapies, arsenic is well known for both its ability to fight disease and cause serious side effects and death. The heavy metal was used for thousands of years to treat infections around the skin, although it is perhaps best-known as the “Poison of Kings” due to its long and storied use in assassinations. Arsenic has been used in several medicinal tonics as well, most famously Fowler’s solution, which was used to treat high blood pressure, gastric ulcers, asthma, eczema, tuberculosis, and both skin and breast cancers. While these tonics were somewhat helpful, they had significant side effects and fell out of use in the mid-1900s.

In the early 1900s, a physician, Dr. Paul Ehrlich found that atoxyl, a derivative of arsenic, was highly effective in the treatment of trypanosomiasis, a common and often fatal chronic infection of the time. Based on this, he searched for a similar derivative of arsenic to treat syphilis, and in so doing created the concept (and name) of chemotherapy. He created Salvarsan, which was the first effective treatment of syphilis; it quickly became the most prescribed drug in the world.

Unfortunately, these medications still had significant side effects, with atoxyl leading to blindness in many of those treated, and Salvarsan causing rashes, liver damage, and even death. Both were replaced by slightly safer arsenic compounds which remained the basis of treatments for these diseases for many years. In the 1940s, with the discovery of penicillin, the arsenic derivatives went largely out of favor in Western medicine.

However, research continued on their potential uses in China, and in the 1970s, arsenic trioxide was shown to be effective in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia, a blood cancer. Over the next 30 years, it has become the prefered second line treatment for this deadly leukemia.

By Baxter B. Allen, M.D.

A common scientific tool could be coming soon to your smartphone

July 21, 2015 by Pat Lynch
By on

The optical spectrometer, an instrument that breaks down the light that something reflects or emits, telling you what it’s made of, is used for everything from diagnosing skin cancer to identifying the makeup of unknown chemicals. They are usually big and expensive pieces of equipment but that’s changing. Jie Bao, a physicist at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and Moungi Bawendi, a chemist at MIT, co-authored an article in Nature published today that explains how they designed a working spectrometer that can fit in your hand.

Spectroscopy is pervasive throughout many scientific fields because it deals with whenever light interacts with matter. Bao and Bawendi’s work suggests that it could become even more widespread since their creation is affordable to make due to its small size. The materials they use cost less than ten dollars.

We expect that quantum dot microspectrometers will be useful in applications where minimizing size, weight, cost and complexity of the spectrometer are critical.

The pocket spectrometer, the size of a quarter, uses tiny amounts of light-sensitive inks printed directly onto a flat sensor (the same type of sensor that’s used in your phone’s camera to detect light.) The ink is printed as a grid of 195 differently colored dots, and each dot picks up certain wavelengths of light, and ignores others. This process allows a computer to later analyze the data from the dots and reconstruct the original light.

What the creators would like to see next is their spectrometer integrated with smartphones and watches allowing the common man, not just scientists, access to this powerful tool.

Image credit: Jie Bao / Popular Mechanics

Test Your Electronics Knowledge – CBET Review

July 20, 2015 by Pat Lynch

Worksheets


These worksheets were created by Tony R. Kuphaldt and released under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

 

Lessons in Electric Circuits

July 17, 2015 by Pat Lynch

This free electrical engineering textbook provides a series of volumes covering electricity and electronics. The information provided is great for students, makers, and professionals who are looking to refresh or expand their knowledge in this field. These textbooks were written by Tony R. Kuphaldt and released under the Design Science License. Interested in contributing to the textbook? Please click here.

Textbook Volumes: